Should Concealing One's Sexuality Before Marriage be Criminalised?

Should concealing one\'s sexuality before marriage be criminalised? Yes, suggest advocates and senior research scholars from top law universities.

Published: 21st March 2016 05:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2016 12:42 PM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Should concealing one's sexuality before marriage be criminalised? Yes, suggest advocates and senior research scholars from top law universities who participated in the national seminar on 'Changing Trends in Marriage' at University of Madras on Saturday.

This discussion stems in the backdrop of three suicides in Bengaluru including a dentist last month after knowing that their partners had concealed the fact that they continued being homosexuals even after marriage.

Citing a case study, Sajjan Malleshi, senior research fellowship members from Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSR) said that a family in Bengaluru had arranged a marriage for their son, who is a gay with a girl from the same community.

Honour Killing - a Cause for Live-in

Fear over honour Killing has emerged as the one of the primary reason for young couples opting for live-in relationships in Tamil Nadu.

Legal experts who participated at the national seminar said that this trend which was earlier prevalent in Chennai has now become prevalent across the state during the recent past, particularly after the Divya-Ilavarasan and Gokulraj cases.

C A Sathya, a research scholar from National Law University, New Delhi said that young couples, fearing opposition from parents over love marriages and forced marriage threats, take up live-in relationships.

She added that these people by stay mostly at rented apartments in cities where they can't be identified easily and do not disclose their marital status to their family back home. But, a professor from the TN Dr Amdekar Law University requesting anonymity said that these relationships mostly do not sustain more than 2 years and with no laws to govern these live-in relationships, separation becomes a walk in the park.

Retired head of dept of legal studies, UNOM said that honour killing being a cause for live-in relationship was a serious finding and more studies need to be done in this topic.

Few weeks after marriage, the girl came out to know that her husband was not interested in sexual intercourse with the other sex and when she brought it to the notice of her family, she was advised to 'adjust' and try winning her husband's heart.

The girl who was in her early twenties, continued to suffer in silence for months and owning to social pressure of not bearing a child, committed suicide by leaving a detailed note behind.

So, Malleshi, said, "This is not an isolated incident, What happened to the rights of the women in these cases?", adding that when the girl's family approached the court, case was filed under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (unnatural offences) and the accused were acquitted.

Supporting this, Devidas G Maley, from law department of Gularga University, Karnataka said that there were no laws of the land which protected the women's right within the marriage in these cases and hence this has to be criminalised.

However, when a research scholar from Department of Legal Studies, University of Madras opposed this by stating that this a breach of a right to privacy under Article 21 of the Indian constitution, Devidas said that privacy breach came into play only when a person is asked to disclose sexuality in public, but in these cases, the concerned parties have the right to know about this.

Another worrying trend related to this emerging among younger couples in cities like Chennai was 'psychological impotency'.

Professor S Rajalakshmi from the Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University said that In these cases, the individuals who were not actually impotent, based on their personal experiences get psychologically convinced that they were sexually impotent.

Even though they come to know about their potency only after marriage, they believed that they were not capable of sexual intercourse.

"Despite therapy sessions available to bring down their stress, many youths, particularly those from the affluent section living in metropolitan cities like Chennai, Bengaluru approached courts for divorces.", she told Express.

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