India’s Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Image Credit:

New Delhi: Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Thursday said that the last year’s Supreme Court (SC) verdict on decriminalisation of gay sex would not be implemented in the Army as the force was “very conservative.”

“Homosexuality was decriminalised by the Supreme Court last year, but ‘hum logon ke yahan nahi chalega’ (this would not work here).

"In the Army, these things are not acceptable. We will not allow this to happen at all in the force,” he told media at Army’s annual press conference in New Delhi.

Admitting that the Army was not above the law, General Rawat said the Constitution still gave it some independence.

“The Army is very conservative. We cannot allow homosexuality to perpetrate into the Army. We are neither modernised, nor westernised,” he said.

General Rawat said the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues were not acceptable to the armed forces and offences related to homosexuality would be dealt with under the Army Act.

“We would still deal with the issues under the Army Act,” he clarified.

According to Section 46 (a) of the Army Act, 1950, any person guilty of any disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind will, on conviction by court-martial, faces up to seven years in jail.

Till last September, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was used to criminalise sexual activities “against the order of nature”.

But on September six, the SC ruled that the application of Section 377 to consensual homosexual sex between adults was unconstitutional, irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary, but the Section remained in force relating to sex with minors, non-consensual sexual acts, and bestiality.

Interestingly, last year, General Rawat had reportedly warned senior officers and their spouses of ‘moral turpitude’, warning that it was unpardonable.

Use of social media

He also stirred a controversy when he said women were not ready for combat roles in the country. He said women had the responsibility of raising children and a woman officer would feel uncomfortable at the frontlines.

On Thursday, Rawat said the Army managed the borders well with China and Pakistan leaving no cause for concern. However, he expressed concern at the situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

“We have managed the situation well along the northern and western borders. But in Jammu and Kashmir, we are only facilitators for peace. The situation there needs to be improved further. Terror and talks cannot go together,” General Rawat said.

He also advised army personnel to use social media for “constructive purposes.”

“We have taught our men that how the social media is being used by our adversary to trap us. So do not get trapped by social media. Let me tell you that a lot of people have already been honey trapped. So please use social media only for constructive purposes,” he said.