Months after her statement that the "concept of marital rape cannot be applied in the Indian context" created a controversy, Union minister Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday said that even if there was a law against it, women are unlikely to complain about this kind of abuse. The Minister for Women and Child Development said women could instead file a complaint of marital rape under the existing Domestic Violence law.
"We have a law already on violence against women and that includes marital rape. The point is that there has never been a complaint under it, never...We can use domestic violence (law) and then build on it but at the moment there is not even one complaint," she told an All Women Journalists' Workshop at Vigyan Bhawan.
"A lot of women who feel very angry with their husbands and hate them, still have two children and they think about them and they take a decision appropriately...I can have a law on marital rape but it will make no difference because no one will complain," she said.
She had earlier courted controversy saying, "The concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to...mindset of the society to treat marriage as a sacrament, etc."
The workshop saw a participation of over 250 journalists from 30 states and Union Territories across the country, representing 120 media organisations. Maneka Gandhi made a presentation on issues taken up by the Women and Child Development Ministry in the last two years. She highlighted the numerous 'firsts' of the Ministry like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme, setting up of One Stop Centres for women in distress, Mahila e-Haat, panic button on mobile phones, guidelines for matrimonial websites, 33% reservation for women in police force, among others.
-With agency inputs