Homosexuality: It Is My Life
THIS is with reference to the letter, ‘Human dignity restored’ by A F Nazareth (NT, September 14, 2018). The Supreme Court of India must be congratulated for decriminalising homosexuality between consenting adults by declaring Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code as “manifestly arbitrary”. The SC very rightly observed, “Majoritarianism views and popular morality could not dictate constitutional rights.” Some people argue homosexuality, lesbian and gay sex are western concepts and they have no place in Indian traditional life. But this is utterly divorced from reality. Homosexual activities have been depicted in temple imagery, sacred narratives and religious scriptures. Lesbian sex has been highlighted in the walls of Modhera Sun temple and gay sex acts have been sculpted for public display at the Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho. Homosexuality has existed all over the world for ages. It is often argued that same-sex marriage is against nature as it cannot produce offspring. But this is a bad logic.
SUJIT DE, KOLKATA
Scourge Of Child Marriage
IT is bewildering that India has the dubious record of having more than 40 per cent of world’s child brides. About two million girls are married before they attain the age of 18. Numbers also have it that more than one million girls in India are married off by the time they are 15. Illiteracy and poverty add their mite in forcing parents to push their children into marriages. Education becomes the biggest casualty where a financially independent girl can do wonders for her own morale later in life. Early pregnancy, possible diseases may paralyse the yet to mature minds and bodies. This can drive the children to a sense of hopelessness and despair as they grow up. The result is the abundance of “grownup children” instead of “adults”. The implementation of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, has been lax, resulting in poor rate of convictions. Mass child marriages blessed by politicians in attendance is still a norm in some states.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
Azaadi From Triple Talaq
TO ensure self-esteem and equality of the Muslim women, the NDA government had initiated the legislative process to ban the instant triple talaq, which is practised by some men of the community. Let us recollect that the matter was debated at length in the Supreme Court on a bunch of petitions filed therein to criminalise the unethical practice and relieve the Muslim women from the agony of living in perpetuity with the Damocles’ sword hanging over their heads of getting divorced. A year ago the SC had ruled that the archaic practice is unconstitutional, void and illegal as it violates the fundamental rights of Muslim women. The top court made a striking observation that when a number of Islamic countries have criminalised the practice what is the difficulty for India to do likewise. However, in the absence of any penal law the practice has continued with impunity. The government introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha criminalising the practice with imprisonment for three years, which was passed without hurdles. However when it was tabled in the Rajya Sabha, all sanity was lost, and the Opposition rejected the bill even going to the extent of arguing that if the man, who is the breadwinner, is jailed then who will support the family. It is a disgrace that they failed to apply the same logic to other crimes, making men immune to imprisonment, on the plea of being the supporters of the family. The Union cabinet was left with no option than to promulgate an ordinance. A provision has been made that the complaint can be filed only by the aggrieved wife or her blood relations or those related through marriage and that the husband can be granted bail but only after hearing the wife. Irrefutably, the ordinance should be the last resort in parliamentary democracy but paying in the same coin is also the best bet.
MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES