maneka gandhiGovernment today said the concept of marital rape cannot be “suitably applied in the Indian context” due to factors like poverty, illiteracy and religious beliefs.

“It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/ illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament etc.,” Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

She was asked whether government plans to criminalise marital rape.

Replying to another question, Gandhi said the scheme for universalisation of women helpline has been approved for implementation through states/UTs from April 1 last year to provide 24-hour emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence both in public and private sphere, including in family, community and workplace.

“All the states/UTs have been requested to submit the proposals in order to release funds. Funds have been sanctioned/released to 33 states/UTs for setting up Women Helpline,” she said.

The ministry has also conceptualised an idea of women welfare committee in all districts of the country, however, no such proposal has been formulated so far.