The government on Thursday claimed that the concept of marital rape cannot be "suitably applied in the Indian context" due to various 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.
The debate over criminalisation of marital rape has been going on for a long time, especially since marital rape is a criminal offence in many other countries.
However, almost half of the top 50 countries — when ranked in terms of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — have not criminalised marital rape so far. According to the report 'Progress of the World's Women (2011-12)' published by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, only 26 of the 50 top countries ranked on the basis of GDP had laws against marital rape.
This means that in 24 of those countries, or in 48 percent of the 50 richest countries in the world, marital rape is not a crime.
Another interesting fact was that among the 25 richest countries, only 11 had criminalised marital rape, while among the next 25 countries, 15 had criminalised it.
Here is a table showing whether marital rape is criminalised or not in the top 50 countries — ranked on the basis of their total GDP in 2014:
The 50 countries in the above table were selected on the basis of data on GDP of 194 countries in 2014 provided by the World Bank.
(With inputs from PTI)