Maneka: Marital rape is also a crime

menakaChanging her stance on marital rape, the Union woman and child development minister Maneka Gandhi said this act is also a crime, since in any form, violence is violence. She said she is considering taking a step towards criminalizing marital rape. But she hastened to add that the existing laws are sufficient to deal with the problem and criticize women that they are not making use of the laws whenever they face any trouble at home.

Maneka had made a controversial statement during the Rajya Sabha proceedings saying, the concept of marital rape cannot be “suitably applied in the Indian context” due to factors like poverty, illiteracy and religious beliefs.

The ministry has apparently retracted its earlier reply to Rajya Sabha. It has now sent an amended answer to the Secretariat citing the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs’ 2013 report, which states that if marital rape is criminalised “the entire family system will be under great stress…”

Violence is violence. It has to be strictly dealt with. We already have a section that covers domestic violence, and if that was used sufficiently for marital rape complaints, there would be grounds to move a new law…(However) police figures show it has not been used even once.

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