Suresh Kumar Kaushal on why he challenged the Delhi High Court judgement on Section 377
Suresh Kumar Kaushal runs Tarunaditya Astrological Center in New Delhi’s Preet Vihar. This Ramjas College graduate took up astrology as a profession in 1997. For a fee — in rupees or in U.S. dollars, anyone can ask him questions on love, marriage, career, health, says his website.
Here, we ask him a few questions too, no not on issues that are his professional specialisation. They are about Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises two consenting adults of the same sex who indulge in sexual activities. Kaushal, along with others like the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, Trust God Missionaries and Krantikari Manuwadi Morcha, challenged in July 2009 the Delhi High Court judgement on Section 377 in favour of decriminalising gay sex. The Supreme Court has recently given a judgement in favour of Kaushal and others leading to strong public reaction, both for and against it. Excerpts from a telephonic interview:
Why did you challenge the Delhi High Court judgement?
My decision was directed by a few considerations. One, I thought the subject was out of the purview of the Delhi High Court. Whenever there have been amendments to the Constitution, it was done by Parliament, not courts. Two, the Naz Foundation did it (petitioning the HC) very quietly by avoiding media and public glare. Three, its rebuttal was required because it is a religious issue. After homosexuality was decriminalised, a lot of gay men and lesbians began approaching temples and gurudwaras for marriages. They had to put a ban on this as marriage in every religion follows certain rituals. Marriage has a special divine place in every religion of the country. In a nation where there are 32 gazetted holidays and 80 State holidays based on religion, how can you say religion doesn’t carry any weight? All our political parties celebrate Holi, Diwali, Christmas, Guru Nanak’s birthday and host Iftaar parties because religion is strongly integrated into our culture and therefore us.
Do you believe homosexuality is unnatural?
Absolutely. It is simply unnatural. How can a homosexual couple become parents? Either by adopting a child or through surrogacy. Even if they do it, a child will have either two mothers or two fathers. For a small portion, we can’t allow moral values of the society to be harmed. What values would their children have?
What other things about it worry you?
I begged the court to look at some important issues, like, to think about what would happen in the hostels, how rich families will exploit their servants, koi rokne wala nahi hoga (there won’t be anybody to stop them.), un ko kaun control karega? (Who will control them?). It is also directly linked to our national security. Lakhs of jawans and defence personnel stay away from their families to safeguard our borders and important places. If Section 377 is lifted, they would miss their partners and get into consensual relationships with each other. What happens in the long run…we might lose a battle.
The law was brought in by the British colonisers. Before them, we had space for different sexualities.
I have been told this is the land of Kama Sutra and Khajuraho. But if you go deeper into Hinduism, Kamasutra is not a treatise on sexual acts, nor is it a book on sexual advice but it is to regulate sexual relationships between a man and a woman. Nowhere will you find in Kama Sutra Vatsayana saying he supports homosexuality. In fact, he strongly criticised it. He looked at physical relationships as a duty of a husband and a wife to add to shristi (creation) and to follow certain techniques to get a good, healthy child.
More than a hundred countries have legalised homosexuality. What do you have to say to that?
They are all small nations with 50 lakh to one crore population, mostly dependent on Europe. Those who say this ignore a large population of the world who don’t support it. Look at the Muslim world, Sri Lanka, China and India, they all are opposed to it. It is a huge geographical area. Just after the Supreme Court turned down the HC decision, Australia banned gay marriages.
Those working against HIV/AIDS say the judgement won’t stop homosexuality but it would be now difficult to control HIV/AIDS as they would go underground.
Homosexuals constitute 25 per cent of HIV/AIDS patients. They are the ones who are spreading the disease. Young boys would come from villages to drive taxis, etc in the cities, get into homosexual relations, catch HIV/AIDS and give it to their families. The whole families get wiped out this way. If I am asked about their rights, I would ask, what about the rights of those who die because of their behaviour?
The transgender community has been a part of our society for long. Does this law not deprive them of their rights?
No right is an absolute; it has to have certain restrictions. You can’t allow anal intercourse. The back portion of a body is for throwing out the waste of the body. It is like an exhaust fan. If you allow it, then it is like reversing the motion of the earth, like reversing the blood flow.
This article has been corrected for factual errors