NEW DELHI: The Indian Army has given a representation to the ministry of defence to reinstate homosexuality and adultery as punishable offences.
The Supreme Court in two historic judgements decriminalised homosexuality and adultery in 2018.
As per sources, for discipline, command and control, the Army wants both these offences to remain punishable under Section 45 of the Army Act that deals with ‘Unbecoming Conduct’ of officers or troops.
Section 45 of the Army Act, 1950, talks about “unbecoming conduct” and reads “Any officer, junior commissioned officer or warrant officer who behaves in a manner unbecoming his position and the character expected of him shall, on conviction by court-martial, if he is an officer, be liable to be cashiered or to suffer such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and, if he is a junior commissioned officer or a warrant officer, be liable to be dismissed or to suffer such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned".
Questioned on the subject, outgoing Adjutant General of the Indian Army Lt General Ashwani Kumar on Wednesday said, “The Supreme Court’s judgments are the law of the land and will be abided within the Army.” He was interacting with media a day before his superannuation and added that nothing will be done that will violate the Supreme Court orders.
Asked whether the Army will go for a review of the Supreme Court judgment to ensure homosexuality and adultery remain punishable in the force, he said, “How do you know we haven’t already done so?”
It is the Adjutant General’s branch which deals with discipline, welfare and complaints of all kinds against army personnel at all levels.
Officials maintain that for Army discipline, command and control are of the utmost importance. The aim behind their representation is to keep homosexuality and adultery punishable as a deterrent as otherwise, it can lead to severe issues of discipline impinging upon command and control.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat at an annual press conference in January had also said that homosexuality and adultery won't be acceptable in the Army.