On Thursday, Supreme Court stroke down IPC section 377 decriminalizing homosexuality. This decision is said to have worried Indian army for some reasons. The military top brass is concerned that what exactly it means for Indian soldiers.
According to a report published in theprint.in, military law experts are not sure that how this law will implicate and impact the Indian forces.
There are some laws governing three wings of Indian military that indirectly or implicitly forbids the forces from indulging in such acts.
Recently, Army chief General Bipin Rawat warned all colonels and their spouses of ‘moral turpitude’. Reportedly he said it is unpardonable. But the Supreme Court decision called into question the validity of this ‘moral turpitude’.
According to the Sections 45, 46 of the Army Act, 1950, any officer who are indulged in the ‘unbecoming conduct’, ‘cruel, indecent or unnatural kind’ may face punishment of seven years in jail.
According to a provision, imprisonment of upto two years for officers who found guilty of any “scandalous or fraudulent conduct or of any conduct unbecoming the character of an officer”.
However, the army sources said that they will have to go through the judgment for determining its implications on the army act.
However, military specialist lawyer Major Navdeep Singh said “The soldiers under military law will not be tried under Section 69 of the Army Act, read with Section 377 of the IPC, as far as a consensual relationship is concerned”.
“The term ‘unnatural’, as used in Section 46 of the act, would yield to the interpretation given by the Supreme Court today for the same term appearing in Section 377,” he was further quoted by the Print as saying.
According to an army officer, extramarital relationship is an offence within the forces. Soldiers are posted in distant areas where they live separating from their families for months and they have no avenue for sexual release. They have their ‘buddy’ for emotional companionship.