The entire family system will be under great stress if marital rape is brought under the law, a parliamentary panel, which deliberated the issue of making amendments to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code that defines rape, has observed.
Citing National Crime Records Bureau data, Union minister of state for women and child development Krishna Raj said in the Lok Sabha on Friday that 700 cases pertaining to rape by live-in partners or separated husbands were filed in 2015.
However, she reiterated the government stance against bringing marital rape under the law.
“The Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs presented its 167th Report on Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2012 on March 1, 2013.
“The committee deliberated amendments to Section 375 of IPC including the issue of marital rape and observed that if marital rape is brought under the law, the entire family system will be under great stress and the committee may perhaps be doing more injustice,” she said.
Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi had last year stoked a controversy when she said in Parliament that there cannot be a law against marital rape because marriage is a “sacrament”.
Gandhi has maintained that “a law on marital rape will make no difference because no one will complain”.
Section 375, which defines rape and deals with punishment for the crime, states that the rape law would not apply to assault or sexual intercourse by a husband on his wife who is above 15 years.
The JS Verma committee set up in the aftermath of nationwide protests over the December 16, 2012 gang rape had recommended that marital rape be criminalised.
The UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women also recommended that the Indian government criminalise it.