Condemning all marriages as violent not advisable: Smriti Irani on marital rape issuetext_fields
New Delhi: Protection of women and children isa a priority for all but all marriages cannot be condemned as violent and not all husbands can be tagged as rapists said Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said on Wednesday.
The minister was responding to a supplemental query in the Rajya Sabha, which was posed by CPI leader Binoy Viswam, who sought to know if the government had taken note of Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act on the definition of domestic violence as well as Section 375 of the IPC on rape.
"….let me say, to condemn every marriage in this country as a violent marriage, and to condemn every man in this country as a rapist is not advisable in this august house," Irani said.
Minister Irani highlighted the efforts of the government to provide awareness on violence against women and to make them aware of their rights under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign in response to DMK leader M Mohamed Abdulla asking if the government takes measures to create awareness on domestic violence at the school and college levels.
She also spoke at length about the 'Samvad' Helpline which is being run in conjunction with NIMHANS in order to provide mental health services to one lakh children, which would find impetus in the telemedicine and telecounselling provisions announced in the Budget yesterday.
BJP leader Sushil Modi asked if the government is in favour of criminalising marital rape or giving immunity as criminalising it will end the institution of marriage. Sushil Modi also said it will be difficult to prove when the wife consented or not.
Irani responded by saying the matter is sub judice and she cannot elaborate.
"However, I would like to highlight to him for research purposes, it finds a reflection in the 172nd report of the Law Commission and also the department of standing committee related to home affairs in the year 2013," she added.
MP Viswam asked if the government could collect data on this issue and submit it to Parliament at the earliest.
To this, the minister said the member is suggesting that the Centre engage with state governments and seek records from them. But the Centre cannot make a recommendation on behalf of state governments today in this house, she added.
The issue of marital rape is before the Delhi High Court. It is hearing a batch of petitions to strike down the exemption from prosecution for the offence of rape granted to husbands under the Indian Penal Code. Under section 375 IPC (rape), husbands can be excused from the crime of raping their wives which the petitioners seek to redress.