Decriminalising Section 377: ‘Can make jawans have intercourse with jawans, threatens national security’

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‘Indian soldiers stay away from families, fear of Section 377 restrains them from performing same-sex intercourse’

The Supreme Court of India is hearing arguments to decriminalise Section 377. Suresh Kumar Koushal, on whose petition a two-judge bench of the SC had in December 2013 set aside a Delhi HC judgment of 2009 decriminalising consensual sex in private between same-sex adults, moved an application before the five-judge bench seeking to intervene in the proceedings and made a startling claim that legalising gay sex could endanger national security.

Koushal said Indian soldiers stayed away from their families for long periods and served under trying circumstances in difficult terrain.

“Fear of Section 377 restrains them from performing same-sex intercourse with their brother jawans. If the provision is decriminalised, it will not only have adverse effect on Indian armed forces but could endanger national security,” he told the Times of India.

Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone woman on the five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court hearing arguments to decriminalise Section 377, said due to society’s historical inhibition towards the LGBT community, persons with different sexual orientation faced many difficulties, including denial of healthcare in semi-urban and rural areas.

Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta said that decriminalising Section 377 would also open a Pandora’s box as courts would be called upon to settle disputes relating to inheritance, maintenance, succession, divorce and child custody between same-sex couples/partners.


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