Maneka Gandhi's u-turn on marital rape

The women and child development minister hopes that soon there will be a decision on criminalising marital rape in India

GN Bureau | April 20, 2016


#marital rape india   #marital rape   #maneka gandhi  
Maneka Gandhi, minister, women and child development
Photo: Arun Kumar

Women and child development (WCD) minister Maneka Gandhi feels the time has come to consider criminalising marital rape in the country. Replying to a question whether there is a need to criminalise marital rape in India, she said, “Now there is."

 
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of an event to launch ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign in 61 additional district, she suggested that there is a need to move forward on this issue. 
 
This comes just a month after her statement in parliament received flak for not supporting criminalising of marital rape for various reasons. On March 10, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Maneka had stated, “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors such as level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament.”
 
Gandhi was criticised by many women activists who described her remark as insensitive. Also, given her past views where she had described marital rape as “violence against women” and was vocal about criminalising it, many were baffled by her statement. 
 
Following the uproar, her ministry had finally retracted the statement, citing “goof up” by a junior official. 

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