Supreme Court lawyer and ex-governor Swaraj Kaushal, whose social media presence is usually one that is appreciated for its intellectual wit and the way he cheekily tackles questions pertaining to his wife, Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, is now in hot waters for a very controversial tweet on marital rape.
It started when Kaushal tweeted about an ongoing plea by an NGO being heard by the Delhi High Court on opposing several petitions requesting that marital rape be called a criminal offence. Sharing an article on the Centre telling the court that criminalising marital rape may destabilise institution of marriage, putting the family system under stress, Kaushal tweeted, “There will be more husbands in the jail, than in the house”. To this, a Twitter user asked him if he was defending marital rape? “Are you defending marital-rape?” tweeted Amit Choudhary, from the handle @HesperusThinks.
That is when Kaushal replied, “There is nothing like marital rape. Our homes should not become police stations”.
Read the exchange here.
Unsurprisingly, his comments immediately sparked a social media outrage, with many pointing out the atrocities faced by women in abusive marriages, to others who scoffed at “A man taking it upon himself to casually dismiss violence directed at women”. Soon after the tweet went viral, Kaushal increased the privacy protection on his account, thereby making the tweet inaccessible by most. But by that time, many had taken screenshots of the controversial statement, and were responding to that on the website.
Here are some of the explosive reactions, Kaushal’s tweet garnered.
— Namita Bhandare (@namitabhandare) August 29, 2017
What every woman wants — A man taking it upon himself to casually dismiss violence directed at women. pic.twitter.com/qawkf96g1t
— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) August 29, 2017
Wrong. As a married man I can never force my wife to intimacy unless she wants it. Also only things which we both enjoy. CONSENT damn it
— Think QuestionEvolve (@Maila_Kameez) August 29, 2017
What else do you think doesn’t exist because it happens in the home? Childhood sexual abuse? Domestic violence?
— Shreya Ila Anasuya (@shreyilaanasuya) August 29, 2017
— Amar Kadam (@Azad_amar) August 29, 2017
No means no. Whether you’re married or not. Is this hard to understand?
— Nana Siddharth (@NanaSiddharth) August 29, 2017
Obviously @governorswaraj is right! Pati is parmeshwar. He can do whatever he wishes with his wife. Marital rape is a western creation! Sic!
— Agnivo Niyogi (@Aagan86) August 29, 2017
Amid the barrage of angry tweets against Kaushal, though, there were some who raised the issue that even husbands remain unprotected by the law.
The Delhi HC was today hearing a case filed by the NGO Men Welfare Trust, representing men victimised by alleged misuse of gender laws, opposing several petitions to make marital rape a criminal offence. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar allowed the intervention application by NGO, Men Welfare Trust, and allowed it to address the court.