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Is Hiding One's Sexuality Before Marriage Criminal?

The discussion was in the backdrop of three suicides in Bengaluru including a dentist last month.

Published: 20th March 2016 11:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2016 11:27 PM   |  A+A-

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Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans-sexuals jubilate during their pride parade in New Delhi. (File photo / PTI)

CHENNAI: Hiding one's sexuality before marriage is criminal, suggest advocates and senior research scholars from law varsities who took part in a national seminar on 'Changing Trends in Marriage' at the University of Madras on Saturday.

The discussion was in the backdrop of three suicides in Bengaluru including a dentist last month after realising that the partners had hidden continuing to be homosexual even after marriage.

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

Few weeks after marriage, the girl came to know that her husband was not interested in sex. When she told her family, she was advised to 'adjust' and try to win her husband's heart.

The girl in her early twenties continued to suffer in silence for months and owning to the social pressure of not bearing a child, committed suicide after leaving a detailed note, said Malleshi.

So, Malleshi said, "This is not an isolated incident. What happened to the rights of the woman in this case?" and added that when the girl's family approached the court, a case was filed under section 377 (unnatural offences) and the accused were acquitted.

Supporting this, Devidas G Maley, from the law department, Gularga University, Karnataka said there were no laws which protected the women's right within marriage and hence it had to be considered criminal.

However, when a research scholar from Department of Legal Studies, University of Madras opposed this saying this was a breach of right to privacy under Article 21, Devidas said privacy breach happened only when a person was asked to disclose sexuality in public, but in these cases, the concerned parties had the right to know.

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

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

Even though they realised their impotence after marriage, they believed that they were not capable of intercourse.

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



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