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Home Minister Says Marital Rape "Cannot Be Applied" In India Because Marriage Is Considered Sacred

He added that while this discussion is ongoing, there are no plans to criminalise marital rape in the Indian Penal Code.

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At a meeting in parliament today, home minister Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary stated that the concept of marital rape is not applicable to India.

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"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 level of education, illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament," he said.

The statement was in response to a written question that was asked by Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, a member of parliament from Tamil Nadu. In her letter, Karunanidhi asked the home ministry if the government will add marital rape to section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which defines and criminalises rape.

Her letter also cited a United Nations report that estimated that 75% of married women in India have to face marital rape.

In response to the letter, the minister explained that the UN panel did recommend that marital rape be made a criminal offence, but clarified that while the letter sparked a discussion, no action will be taken to criminalise marital rape.

"The Law Commission of India did not recommend criminalisation of marital rape by amending the exception to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code and hence presently there is no proposal to bring any amendment to the IPC in this regard," the minister said.

There has been widespread social media outrage against the home minister's statement:

Marriage 'sacred'? Marital rape can't be applied in India? Every now and then, we are reminded of a Stone Age mentality.

my objection to criminalizing #MaritalRape is the possibility of wide-spread misuse. Look how #DomesticViolence Act unfairly favours women


What does 'marriage being sacred' have to do with marital rape? That's like saying the court won't recognise murders because life is sacred.

17 yr old's husband rapes her = legal 17 yr old makes love to boyfriend = rape, he goes to adult jail #MaritalRape #JuvenileJustice

Concept of marital rape cannot be applied to India: declares MoS Home. No wonder we are so woefully far away from a gender just society...

This, right here, is the problem with BJP's idea of cultural nationalism. #MaritalRape


50-60% marriages happen because the groom gets a dowry from the bride's side Marriage is a business transaction. Nothing sacred #MaritalRape

No govt who supports marital rape can claim to be remotely serious about women's safety/ ending VAW.

What nonsense is this? A rape is a rape: Subramanian Swamy (BJP) on marital rape issue

Earlier this year, India's Supreme Court upheld the legality of marital rape.