Judicial reforms: Populist or futuristic?

Talking about sexuality is a taboo in India and this could either put you in a bad position or worse but never the best. May be, the precise reason why we have overpopulation problem. There are two issues to look at in Indian context. Recently, apex court of India has decriminalised section 377 and section 497 of Indian Penal code. Both verdicts received mixed views.

The section 377 unnatural offences of Indian penal code says that having a carnal intercourse voluntarily against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal shall lead to imprisonment for life (or 10 years) with fine. When people started having objections to this particular law, it meant to exclude the clause of man and woman. This objection was based on the research findings published in 1993 by Dean H. Hamer. The research says that homosexuality in males is linked to a gene, Xq28, found at the tip of X-chromosome. And so it would be unlawful to punish those who are born as differently abled. Some developed nations have already adopted this view but some are still waiting for more conclusive evidence. Not enough research have been performed to conclude the same for females. And so this still leads to mixed opinions. There was a huge wave in India to glamorise the issue and so media is constantly keeping tabs on it. Personally, I feel instead of scrapping the entire section 377, the court could have just removed the man and woman clause and kept unnatural offences applicable and confined to animals.

The section 497 adultery of Indian penal code says that men having intercourse with married women shall be punishable for imprisonment if husband of those women files complaint. The law fails to imply the same in case of females. Along with this, section 198 of Indian penal code also puts only men as liable and punishable. There’s no scope to include women. The objection to this law was only to include both men and women under it and only strengthen it. The court, however, scrapped both sections of Indian penal code. As an add-on, court ruled that divorce is still possible if adultery is committed but is not punishable until it leads to suicide of an individual.

It is hard not to say that the new chief justice of India was either looking to ride on the glamour wave or was just short of ideas. A little extra attention to details would have done the trick. Despite all this, one cannot conclude that it will harm the culture or a failed marriage. This is simply exaggerating the nonsense. We tend to believe in duality of good and evil whereas most things around us are neither. It is also unjust to believe that all good has come from our own culture and all bad things are the outcome of the practices of foreign cultures. There’s a long way to go for reforms but these small steps towards it at least should be appreciated.