The security of women and children in the country is a concern for everyone, but labelling every marriage as violent and every guy as a rapist is not advisable, said Smriti Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development, in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Her remarks were in answer to CPI leader Binoy Viswam’s follow-up question on marital rape. He wanted to know if the government had considered Section 3 of the Domestic Abuse Act, which defines domestic violence, as well as Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with rape.
The minister stated that the senior member is aware that Rule 47 of the Rajya Sabha procedures prohibits elaboration on a subject that is currently under consideration.
She stated that the government’s goal is to safeguard women in the country in partnership with state governments. Over 30 helplines are currently operational across India, assisting over 66 lakh women. In addition, the country has 703 ‘one-stop centres,’ which have benefited over five lakh women.
Viswam said that he never meant to imply that every male is a rapist and asked if the administration could collect statistics on the subject and give it to Parliament as soon as possible.
In response, the minister stated that the member is recommending that the Centre interact with state governments and obtain documents from them. However, the Centre cannot make a proposal on behalf of state governments in this chamber today, she noted.
The Delhi High Court is hearing matter of marital rape. It is considering a slew of petitions to overturn the Indian Penal Code’s immunity from prosecution for rape provided to spouses.
The petitioners have challenged the legality of the marital rape exception under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (rape) on the grounds that it discriminates against married women who are sexually attacked by their husbands.