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Cannot allow adultery, gay sex in Army, says chief

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New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday said things like adultery and gay sex, both of which have been decriminalised by the Supreme Court, cannot be allowed in the Army.

He underlined that though the Army was not above law, it was governed by the Army Act which does not mention these things.

“Talking about Article 377 and other issues, let me tell you that we have always treated Army as a family…I think anything that has been said and has been talked of, cannot be allowed to perpetrate in the Army,” Rawat said in response to a media query at his customary annual press meet.

“A lot of our soldiers who are serving at the borders, leave their families behind in FAFA or field area family accommodation. We have to make sure such families are cared for as your own. Whatever you might say, that Article or this Article…The officer or jawan who is sitting on the border cannot be worried if his family is being cared of or what is happening to his family,” he added.

He said the phrase “stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife” does not exist in any manual of military law but gained popular currency in the 1980s when it was used “to provide media with reasons for action against senior officers”.

“It connotes the ownership of a woman by the husband where she cannot act out of her free will. It is something hard to argue in these times. Generally, Army is conservative. We have not modernised, neither are we westernised. We are conservative,” Rawat said.

“In the Army we never thought this (gay sex and adultery) can happen. Anything that was thought of could happen was put in the Army Act. This was something unheard of in the Army when the Army Act was made, therefore it was not put into it. We have never allowed it…We can take action against people, but will never allow this to happen,” he said.

Last year, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court decriminalised part of the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises consensual unnatural sex, saying it violated the rights of equality.

The apex court also struck down anti-adultery law, saying it was unconstitutional and treated women as “chattel of husbands”.

General Rawat said there were certain issues where the armed forces were different from the civilian code of conduct.

“We are not above the Supreme Court Court. The apex court has said something, we will have to see how we take a call. I am not saying we are above law. But if the jawan on the border gets worried about his family back home, he cannot give his 100 per cent,” he said.

(IANS)