Ours is a fast developing nation, waiting in the wings to be counted among the comity of developed nations. We have reached our stride in the fields of science and technology. But we have to see whether this progress and development is balanced or lopsided. A close study of our society realise the bitter truth that this development of ours is utterly lopsided; it is at the cost of our culture, civilization and ethics. The moral health of our society is grossly at the receiving end. We are out to get acts of moral depravity declared legal! It is in this backdrop that we see the report “Age bar for legal sex to be raised” (Apr 26).
To a civilized person the definition of ‘legal sex’ is confined to the institution of marriage. Whatever is pre- or extra-marriage sex is not only illegal but inhuman as well. Inhuman because it is only animals and beasts that do not require any law or norm to satisfy their physical desires; human beings do need laws and norms to satisfy their sexual urge. But the irony of ironies is that our lawmakers draw a line of distinction between forced sex and consensual sex; while forced sex is considered rape and is liable to be punished but consensual sex between two partners above 16 years of age (now it is to be raised to 18 years) is not punishable! This is tantamount to giving licence to licentiousness, permissiveness and debauchery in matters of sex. It is this legal leniency that has given way to rising cases of rape or attempt to rape and other crimes including murder of young girls and women. Again it is due to this legal leniency that our society is getting ‘new’ but brazen terms like ‘live-in relationship’, ‘single mother’, et al.
While the Union cabinet is discussing this issue in the ongoing budget session, it is high time our lawmakers considered this issue afresh with a view to creating a morally healthy society, condemned ‘consensual sex’ as rape liable to be punished in the eyes of law rather discarded the very concept of this immoral sex, and gave the institution of marriage its due. It is essential because it is a question not only of protecting children from sexual assault, harassment and pornography but a question of ensuring moral health to the entire society. This is the only way we can save our society from falling into the ebb of moral depravity and protect our new generation from going astray.