Gay sex can’t be allowed in Army: Chief

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Gay sex can’t be allowed in Army: Chief

Friday, 11 January 2019 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Gay sex can’t be allowed in Army: Chief

Law of the land is supreme, but Army rules are conservative, says Gen Rawat

Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday indicated that the Supreme Court verdict on decriminalisation of gay sex and adultery may not be implemented in the Army, citing the “conservative” nature of the force.

Making this assertion here in the annual news conference ahead of the Army Day on January 15, he said though the Army is not above law of the land, yet when a person joins the armed forces some of the rights enjoyed by the civilian counterparts are taken away. He was responding to a question on the Army’s views on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and adultery.

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in September last year unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 which criminalises consensual unnatural sex, saying it violated the rights to equality.

The apex court last year also struck down another colonial era anti-adultery law saying it was unconstitutional, dented the individuality of women and treated them as “chattel of husbands”.

Rawat said the Army is conservative and we cannot allow it to perpetrate into the Army.

Explaining the rationale for not implementing the Supreme Court verdict in the armed forces, the Army chief said the force is a huge family and when an officer or jawan is posted on the front he leaves behind his family in military stations.

The families are looked after by the local military unit. In this context he referred to incidents of stealing the affection of brother officer’s wife in the force parlance, and said it “cannot be allowed to happen”. Section 63 of the Army Act covers all such actions like gay sex and adultery and the guilty are punished.

Elaborating on the two issues of gay sex and adultery, the Army chief said when the Army Act was framed many years back no one ever thought such matters will come up and said the issue of adultery is very serious. An officer or jawan has to be assured that his family is safe to enable him to given his best at the front, the chief added. Rawat also said it remains to be seen how the society reacts to decriminalisation of gay sex and adultery.

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