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The Indian army wants to keep homosexuality a punishable offence

Patrick Kelleher November 3, 2019
The Indian army wants to keep homosexuality a punishable offence

The Indian Army wants to continue punishing gay soldiers, even though homosexuality was decriminalised last year (UMA SHANKAR MISHRA/AFP via Getty)

Officials in the Indian Army want to keep punishing officers for being gay despite the fact that homosexuality was decriminalised in the country last year.

Officials have reportedly approached the Ministry of Defence over concerns that gay officers are going “unnoticed and unpunished” and have said they need to ensure discipline in the army.

Furthermore, they said they wanted to continue punishing gay soldiers because it would act as a deterrent against immoral acts.

Speaking to local media on Wednesday, General Ashwani Kumar, who is Adjutant General of the Indian Army, said things can be  “legally right but ethically wrong.”

“Anything told by the Supreme Court is the law of the land and has to be abided with,” he said, according to Manorama Online.

Indian Army will not charge officers for homosexuality – but they will be punished.

When asked if they would appeal for a review of the apex court judgement, he replied: “How do you know that we haven’t already done so?”

He went on to confirm that they will not be charging officers for homosexuality or adultery. However, gay officers can be punished under Section 45 of the Army Act which prohibits officers from acting “in a manner unbecoming his position and character expected of him.”

Moral turpitude and corruption cannot be accepted.

Previously, gay officers were punished under Section 46 which instructed that officers be punished for “any disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind.”

“Moral turpitude and corruption cannot be accepted,” Kumar continued.

He also said that five to six officers have already been punished for moral turpitude – however, he did not go into any more detail of what these cases involved.

While homosexuality has been decriminalised in India, it is still seen as socially unacceptable in some sections of society.

Gay sex is still a taboo topic in the army.

In the army, gay sex is still a major taboo subject. Earlier this year, General Bipin Rawat of the Indian Army said that they would be continuing to enforce a ban on gay soldiers.

“We will not allow this to happen in the army,” Rawat told local media in January.

“We will still be dealing with them under various sections of the Army Act. [It] will not be allowed to happen in the Indian Army.”

He continued: “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.

“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,” he said.

“I can’t say what will happen two years down the road.”

More: Army, Gay, Homosexuality, India

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