A private member bill to amend the existing laws to treat marital rape as a crime was tabled in the Rajya Sabha today.
Moving the bill, Congress leader Avinash Pande quoted a report as saying that one in five men have forced their wives for sex, while another one says that marital rape cases were to the tune of 9-15 per cent in the country.
"It is a very sensitive issue. Growing sexual violence needs more attention. ...The bill proposes to criminalise the act of forced sex in marriage as marital rape," he said, adding that the culprits should be punished under the law.
Before taking up the bill, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Muktar Abbas Naqvi said the bill be taken up next time as Home Minister Rajnath Singh was in Bihar to ascertain the impact of a recent storm in the state.
Participating in the debate, two Congress leaders Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu and Husain Dalwai favoured the bill, but BJP member Dilipbhai Pandya it saying that the existing law had all provisions to address such a crime.
"There is a provision in the bill that says if a man commits sexual intercourse or act with his own wife under 15 years is not rape. This provision needs to be deleted. I don't find any substance in this bill. Some provisions need to be amended. I oppose the bill. I request the member to withdraw the bill," he said.
There is no specific objective to support the bill. The present law already covers such crimes, Pandya added.