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‘Gay Sex Not Allowed In Indian Army’, Says Chief General Bipin Rawat

PRERNA YADAV | 2
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| January 10 , 2019 , 15:40 IST

Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Thursday that Gay sex will not be allowed in the Indian Army when he was asked to comment on the Supreme Court decriminalizing homosexuality.

"We will not allow this to happen in the Army," said General Rawat, addressing his annual press conference. He said the Indian army has its own laws on homosexuality.

"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," he said.

Section 45 in the Army Act, 1950, talks about the “unbecoming conduct” of officers without detailing it while Section 46 (a) says any person guilty of any disgraceful conduct of a “cruel, indecent or unnatural kind” will, on conviction by court-martial, face up to seven years in jail.

When asked about the Supreme Court ruling on adultery, he said the Army is "very conservative".

"We can't allow it to perpetuate into the Army," he said.

Last year, the Supreme Court had struck down a colonial-era law, saying it was unconstitutional, dented the individuality of women and treated them as "chattel of husbands".

The vague words used in the sections leave it open to interpretation, although the apex court order had stripped homosexual relationships of their “unnatural” tag. Soon after the SC verdict in September, media reports stated that General Rawat had warned colonels and their spouses of ‘moral turpitude’, saying it was unpardonable.

Military legal experts had stated at the time that the implications of the verdict on the armed forces will have to be studied, but there has been no change in the rules so far.

The Supreme Court unanimously decriminalized a part of a colonial-era law under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code had been hailed as a milestone moment for LGBTQ rights in the country, but it has failed to translate into any change for the soldiers. Laws governing the three arms of the Indian military bar homosexuality and rule it a punishable offense.