Homosexuality is Not a Crime. Time to Ask, “But What about Our Soldiers at the Border”?

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Homosexuality is Not a Crime. Time to Ask, “But What about Our Soldiers at the Border”?

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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esterday, the outdated notions of masculinity and morality that are still depressingly prevalent in our country’s institutions were brought to light when Army chief General Bipin Rawat said that despite homosexuality and adultery being decriminalised by the Supreme Court, the army was “conservative” and these practices would not be allowed to “perpetuate in the army”.

Unfortunately, he isn’t wrong. Though the Supreme Court repealed the laws on adultery and homosexuality, or more precisely, “unnatural” sex, in two landmark judgements last year, they are still illegal under the Indian Army Act, 1950, and considered punishable offences with a jail term of upto 10 years. So yes, technically, he is still well within his rights to “deal with them under various sections of the Army Act”. And while he couched his pigheaded, regressive statements with the qualifiers that the army is “certainly not above the country’s law”, realistically, it took over a decade’s worth of activism for two 158– and 154-year-old draconian laws to be struck down. So one can only wonder how long it will take for the army to catch up, especially when the old men in power are so comfortable upholding the highly discriminatory status quo.  

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