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Government mulling criminalising marital rape

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday said the government is mulling criminalising marital rape, a month after her statement in Parliament that the concept cannot be ‘suitably applied in the Indian context’ created an uproar.

Government mulling criminalising marital rape
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi

New Delhi

Maneka Gandhi said there is an attempt by the government to move forward on the issue. Replying to a question on whether there is an attempt to push for criminalisation of marital rape, Maneka Gandhi said, ‘Now there is’. Maneka Gandhi expressed hope that there will be a decision soon on the issue. 

Earlier, the Home Ministry had sought the Law Commission’s opinion on the matter during the course of its comprehensive review of the criminal justice system. The minister had come under fire last month over her reply in Parliament to a question on whether the government had plans to criminalise marital rape. 

Maneka Gandhi had said, “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors including the level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat marriage as a sacrament, etc.” 

Maneka Gandhi had later said the ministry could consider taking steps to criminalise marital rape provided there is ample proof of enough number of such complaints.

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