The government on Thursday said the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be applied in the Indian context. Asked in Parliament on Thursday whether the central government had any plans to criminalise marital rape, Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi said in a written reply. "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."
A number of studies done over the years suggest that sexual violence in marriage is prevalent in India.
The last National Family Health Survey (2005-2006), conducted among 124,385 women in 29 Indian states, had 10% women reporting that their husbands had physically forced them to have sex.
Another study conducted by the International Centre for Women (ICRW) and United Nations Population Fund's (UNPFA) across seven states in India last year covered 9,205 men and 3,158 women aged 18-49 from each state. One-third of the men interviewed admitted to having forced a sexual act on their wives.