As millions celebrated a historic verdict scrapping a part of the 157-year-old Section 377 and ending the ban on consensual gay sex between adults, the RSS said it backed the Supreme Court judgement that homosexuality is not a crime, even though it does not support “this kind of relationship”.
The RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP. The organisation, which is the fountainhead of various pro-Hindu grounds in the country that are counted as the “Sangh parivar”, has always opposed homosexuality.
Today, it did not mind going against the tide but its expression of support for the Supreme Court ruling was seen by some as a significant shift. “Like the Supreme Court’s verdict, we do not even consider this a crime,” said Arun Kumar, RSS’s All India Campaign chief.
“Gay marriage and relationship are not compatible with nature and are not natural, so we do not support this kind of relationship. Traditionally, India’s society also does not recognize such relations,” Mr Kumar said.
He felt that it was necessary to take the subject at a social and psychological level as “humans generally learn from experiences.”
In 2016, senior RSS leader Dattatreya Hosabale raised many eyebrows when he said, to reporters’questions, that one’s sexual preference cannot be a crime.
“I don’t think homosexuality should be considered a criminal offence as long as it does not affect the lives of others in society. Sexual preferences are private and personal,” Mr Hosabale said.
The very next day, he backtracked and posted this tweet: “Homosexuality is not a crime, but socially immoral act in our society. No need to punish, but to be treated as a psychological case.”
Five Supreme Court judges unanimously decriminalised a part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377, which banned consensual unnatural sex.
The constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra termed the part of Section 377 as irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.