Jaitley disagrees with SC observation on sexuality

New Delhi: Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday expressed his disagreement with the Supreme Court’s observation that sexuality is part of free speech and said that judgements on the Sabarimala temple, homosexuality and adultery may have an adverse impact on the society.

“If you want to take a progressive step, then Article 14 and 21 will apply against all religions. It cannot happen that you select a practice and apply it. That will have many consequences in a pluralistic society like India,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley was responding to a question on his perspective on the recent top court’s verdicts at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

The apex court has decriminalised homosexuality and adultery, upheld the Aadhaar law and ordered that women of all ages can enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The minister welcomed the judgement on the decriminalisation of Section 377 but said: “I disagree with judicial view that sexuality is part of free speech.”

“This is little excessive,” he said adding that free speech could, under the Constitution be restrained only under certain circumstances such as public order.

“How then do you restrain any sexual activity in Army frontier, school hostel?” he asked.

“Sometimes, you get carried away while making these historic judgements and you go a step further.”

He said that the judgement on Section 377 was part of a sustained campaign for social reform.

On adultery, he said that the section itself was badly worded and needed to be struck down.

But, he warned that decriminalising adultery may have an adverse impact and lead to many consequences.

“Such views may apparently appear progressive…but latter view may find the references of western journals very favourably but it may end up converting Indian family system to western and fragility of marriage may increase,” he said.

“When you have a complaint about your spouse’s adultery, divorce is the only remedy. That doesn’t leave scope for the Legislature to re-amend.”

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