The Justice Verma Committee had recommended special provisions for Marital Rape but the UPA 2, led by the Congress party, had rejected the proposal.
New Delhi: In the ongoing debate about marital rape, Nehru family scion and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi batted for making special provisions for marital rape.
In a social media post on Sunday (January 16), Rahul Gandhi said “Consent is amongst the most underrated concepts in our society. It has to be foregrounded to ensure safety for women. #MaritalRape”
The Justice Verma Committee, which was constituted in the wake of the Nirbhaya gangrape to suggest changes in the laws to check sexual assault, had recommended making marital rape an offence under IPC. The Committee had submitted its report on January 23, 2013.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre led by the Congress Party had rejected the suggestion of the committee.
Rahul Gandhi’s mother and president of the Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, was the chairperson of the UPA.
Commenting on the post of Rahul Gandhi, scientist and political commentator Dr. Anand Ranganathan said “Back in 2013 your own UPA government, going against the advice & recommendation of the Justice JS Verma committee, REFUSED to make Marital Rape an offence, saying: "Such a provision may weaken the institution of marriage in India." What a shameless hypocrite you are.”
Many prominent voices have been speaking against this. Replying to Rahul Gandhi, noted lawyer and social activist Monika Arora said “If Mother & father sleep together at night, have sexual relations but mother cries RAPE in morning, father will be in prison for 10 years. No bail.
-No police investigation can help.
-Life of Children,old parents, unmarried Bros or sis will be ruined.
-Think before U speak”
She further added “114A. Evidence Act- In prosecution for rape under sec.376 IPC, where sexual intercourse by accused is proved & question is whether it was without consent of woman & she states in Court that she did not consent, Court shall presume that she did not consent.
-Man has no defence….”
Analysing the Justice Verma Committee report, PRS Legislative Research wrote “Under the IPC sexual intercourse without consent is prohibited. However, an exception to the offence of rape exists in relation to un-consented sexual intercourse by a husband upon a wife. The Committee recommended that the exception to marital rape should be removed. Marriage should not be considered as an irrevocable consent to sexual acts. Therefore, with regard to an inquiry about whether the complainant consented to the sexual activity, the relationship between the victim and the accused should not be relevant.”
The Parliamentary Standing Committee too had rejected the recommendation.
The Delhi High Court is currently hearing a bunch of petitions about rape in marriage. On the notice issued to it, the Union government had asked for more time to respond.