Updated: May 20, 2015 10:16:34 am
The Delhi Police, called upon to decide on certain issues which recently caused the courts to do flip-flops, are finding it uncomfortably hot work. They are seeking legal opinion to determine whether the goods euphemistically classed as “sexual wellness products” and sold anonymously over the internet should attract the antediluvian provisions of Section 377, which criminalises “intercourse against the order of nature”. Their caution is understandable, for the products in question are frequently designed to take the “inter” out of “intercourse”. Is their legal status truncated, in that case, or does it remain on course?
Upon contemplating the order of nature, the forensic mind is assailed by deeply ontological questions. What is natural? Is a policeman natural, for instance? For historical reasons, the former colonies teem with people who find the very idea of a police force wholly unnatural. In such a milieu, should the police be required to take a call on what is legally unnatural?
But actually, the debate over natural and unnatural is not about morality at all. It signals alarm at a category mistake, in which an activity designated for the propagation of the species is perceived to be misused for the creation of happiness. The idea of happiness leaking out of the internet and entering the lives of the faceless multitudes via some toys deeply disturbs certain minds. Toys? That’s playing around with the idea of propagation, a species-threatening form of sacrilege.
How long can the police hold off taking a position on the matter, thrust upon them by a Supreme Court advocate? It doesn’t really matter what they find in the miasma of pop philosophy and off-colour humour which surrounds these “wellness” products. The very fact that they can be at all controversial suggests that society is deeply unwell.
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