“Section 377 Verdict” and the Defence Services

After the “Section 377 Verdict” — Will the Armed Forces treat “consensual sex” between “Same-Sex” Military Personnel as lawful, moral and acceptable…?

“Section 377 Verdict” and the Defence Services

A Spoof By Vikram Karve

Disclaimer: I am not a “Legal Eagle” — nor am I a “Sea Lawyer”. This article is a spoof, a piece of humor, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.

The recent “Section 377 Verdict” decriminalized part of the 158-year-old colonial era provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was introduced in 1861 during the British Rule of India.

Modelled on the Buggery Act of 1533 (Britain’s first law to make Buggery or Sodomy a crime) — Section 377 criminalized sexual activities “against the order of nature” — including sexual activities between persons of the same-sex.

Now — after part decriminalization — Section 377 will not apply to consensual same-sex acts between homosexuals, heterosexuals, lesbians and other sexual minorities.

Thus — henceforth — it is lawful for persons of the same sex to indulge in consensual sexual activities.

Will there be any ramifications of the “Section 377 Verdict” on the Defence Services…?

One wonders whether the Military will treat “consensual sex” between “Same-Sex” Military Personnel as acceptable, moral and lawful…?

(Before I attempt to answer the question — Dear Reader — let me remind you once again that I am no “legal eagle” — nor am I a “Sea Lawyer” — and — being a Naval Veteran — I shall give you my “imaginings” in the context of the Navy with the hope that some “expert” Army, Naval and Air Veterans and Legal Eagles “pontificate” on the implications of the “Section 377 Verdict” on their respective services. Also — please treat this article as a spoof, a piece of humor — so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.…)

Will Navy treat “consensual sex” between “Same-Sex” Naval Personnel as lawful…?

Will consensual buggery/lesbianism between Naval Personnel be acceptable…?

If YES — it is fine.

If NO — how will the Navy tackle such “same-sex” acts of buggery and and lesbian-sex between Naval Personnel…?

Prior to decriminalization of consensual same-sex acts — Navy could use Section 77 of the Navy Act to punish Naval Personnel indulging in buggery or lesbian-sex which was then an offence under Section 377 of IPC.

(Section 77 of the Navy Act provides for punishment of Naval Personnel for Civil Offences)

Now — after part decriminalization of Section 377 — consensual same-sex acts are no longer a punishable offence under the IPC — so — Naval Personnel indulging in consensual buggery or lesbian-sex do not commit any “civil” offence — hence — Section 77 is not applicable.

So — in case the Navy wishes to punish consensual buggery or lesbian-sex among Naval Personnel — will Navy take recourse to the “catch all” provisions of The Navy Act, 1957 which can be used to label almost anything as an “offence”…?

One wonders whether these provisions were deliberately made ambiguous so that they become “all encompassing” and can be “interpreted” as convenient by senior officers.

Let us have a look at these three sections of the Navy Act (Sections 53, 54 and 74 in Chapter VIII — Articles of War)

(The “Articles of War” are a set of regulations — the statutory provisions in the Navy Act that regulate and govern the conduct of Officers and Sailors of the Navy)

Cruelty and conduct unbecoming the character of an officer

Section 54

(1) Every officer subject to naval law who is guilty of cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or such other punishment as is hereinafter mentioned.

(2) Every officer subject to naval law who is guilty of any scandalous or fraudulent conduct or of any conduct unbecoming the character of an officer shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to two years or such other punishment as is hereinafter mentioned.

Firstly — this section applies to officers only. So — sailors cannot be punished under this section.

Secondly — “consensual sex” cannot be treated as “cruelty” — so Section 54 (1) is not applicable.

Now — as far as Section 54 (2) is concerned — the “moot question” is:

Can a “consensual same-sex act” between officers be deemed to be “scandalous or fraudulent conduct or conduct “unbecoming” the character of an officer”…?

Offences against good order and naval discipline

Section 74

Every person subject to naval law who is guilty of an act, disorder, or neglect to the prejudice of good order and naval discipline, not hereinbefore specified, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or such other punishment as is hereinafter mentioned.

Whereas Section 54 was applicable only to Naval Officers — Section 74 applies to all Naval Personnel.

The “moot question” is:

Can a “consensual same-sex act” between Naval Personnel be deemed an act “to the prejudice of good order and naval discipline”…?

As I said earlier — the phrase “to the prejudice of good order and naval discipline” is quite subjective in nature since the exact meaning of “to the prejudice of good order and naval discipline” has not been precisely defined and interpretation may depend on the perception of the senior officer.

A “conservative” officer may feel that consensual buggery and lesbian-sex are acts “to the prejudice of good order and naval discipline” — whereas a “broad-minded” officer may think differently.

Uncleanness or indecent acts

Section 53

Every person subject to naval law who is guilty of, –

(a) uncleanness; or

(b) any indecent act;

shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may be extend to two years or such other punishment as is hereinafter mentioned.

Here — the “moot question” is:

Can a “consensual same-sex act” between Naval Personnel be deemed an “unclean” or “indecent” act…?

Is it valid to say that “heterosexual acts” are “clean” and “decent” — but “homosexual acts” are “unclean” and “indecent”…?

What is “clean” and what is “unclean” — what is “decent” and what is “indecent” — it depends on the perception of the senior officer.

Of course — Public Display of “Affection” by Naval Personnel may be deemed “indecent” — but can “Private Sexual Activity” be deemed “indecent”…?

(During my long Naval Career — I had not come across anyone being punished for an “unclean” act or “indecent” act — so — I wondered if Section 53 had ever been used to punish a Naval Officer/Sailor. So — I searched on the internet — and I found a news report which said that a sailor had been found guilty under Section 53(b) of the Navy Act)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

What will be the ramifications of the “Section 377 Verdict” on the Armed Forces…?

Will private consensual sex (buggery/lesbian-acts) between “same-sex” military personnel be acceptable in the Armed Forces…?

Or — will the Armed Forces use “catch all” rules/regulations (like Sections 53, 54 and 74 of Navy Act) to punish consensual same-sex acts…?

(Do Army and Air Force Acts have similar provisions like Sections 53, 54 and 74 of Navy Act…?)

Will there be a Fraternization Policy for Same-Sex Relationships among Military Personnel…?

Dear Reader — please comment and tell us — what do you think will happen…?

VIKRAM KARVE

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer: 1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.

2. This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story is a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2018/09/377-in-uniform-will-there-be-any.html


Originally published at karve.wordpress.com on September 11, 2018.

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