Decriminalisation of gay sex; ‘We will not allow it to happen in army’

P L Uniyal. Dated: 1/11/2019 11:20:49 AM

NEW DELHI, Jan 10: Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat Thursday suggested that the Supreme Court verdict on decriminalisation of gay sex may not be implemented in the army, saying that such actions are forbidden in the army.
At the same time, he added that the army is not above the law. “We will not allow this to happen in the Army," he said.
During his annual press conference, General Rawat, when asked to comment on the Supreme Court decriminalizing homosexuality last year, “Aap logon me chalega to chalne do. Humare yahan nahi chalega (We will not allow this to happen in the army). In the army LGBT issues... are not unacceptable. We will still be dealing with them under various sections of the Army Act.”
“We are not above the country's law but when you join the Indian army, some of the rights and privileges you enjoy are not what we have. Some things are different for us, but we are certainly not above the Supreme Court,” he said.
“We will have to see how we take a call, let us also see how it comes into the society, whether it's accepted or not... I can't say what will happen 20 years down the line.”
A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court last September unanimously decriminalised a part of a colonial-era law under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which banned "consensual unnatural sex", saying it violated the rights to equality.
Asked about the Supreme Court also ruling that adultery is not a crime, General Rawat said the Army is "very conservative."
He added, “We are neither modernised, nor westernised.” The army chief was asked these questions after a former general suggested in an article that the armed forces can continue to enforce their own rules on gay sex and adultery even after the Supreme Court orders
On being asked if the recent Supreme Court verdict on decriminalisation of extra-marital affairs and homosexual relations, Gen Rawat was categorical, “We will continue to charge people under the Army Act for both. Sorry, the Army is conservative and intends not to change on these issues.” “Some of the rights and privileges do not exist for us,” he said.
Last year, the Supreme Court had struck down a colonial-era anti-adultery law, saying it was unconstitutional, dented the individuality of women and treated them as "chattel of husbands".

 

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