How To ‘Moral’ Police 101: Charge Adults In Private Spaces With Public Indecency

Posted on August 14, 2015 in Society

By P.V. Durga:

Consensual sex in India is when the government consents to sex between two consenting adults”. Be prepared to let the government into your bedroom because it seems like they feel that the protection of the moral fabric of the society lies completely in their hands. Take the case of the recent raid in hotels and lodges conducted by the Mumbai Police. They charged about 40 couples on account of “public indecency”. The excuse used was Section 110 of the Mumbai Police Act of 1951 which, in essence, authorizes the police to take action in case of indecent behavior in “places of public resort”. Since when did a lodges and hotels become a public place? Also, it looks like the police have conveniently overlooked the fact that these were consenting adults. The event also took a very sexist turn, because the women involved were compelled to prove that they were not prostitutes.

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Such unwelcome intervention isn’t new. The Mumbai police have had problems in the past with a couple sitting on a bench, and a group of friends taking a selfie of a group hug, to quote a few instances. Maybe they need to understand what a law and order problem actually is. What’s more? The government also does not believe that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. This was the stance it took when a petitioner questioned the invasion of privacy in furnishing personal details in the Aadhar Card scheme.

Surely, the interference of the state in the private lives of its citizens, in a liberal democracy needs to be viewed critically, not just for the stance that it takes in matters related to sexual relationships, but the uneven manner in which they are enforced. Marital rape is a glaring example. Because marriage is “sacred”, the concept of marital rape was considered “inapplicable” by the government. But the government criminalizes homosexuality. By assuming that all sexual activity in a marriage is consensual, the government is condoning criminals in a marriage, and instead criminalizing consensual sex.

The culture of limiting personal freedoms, which is emerging, seems not only dangerous but also erroneous. Look at the list of bans in India- from documentaries to books to even food and drink, and not to forget, the recent porn ban. The sad thing about the whole fiasco is the fact that the interference have been into aspects of a citizen’s life that are most inconsequential to the law and order in the country. If only important bills were passed with the same promptness in the parliament.