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The Editorial: Law and Sexuality

A picture of a pair of scales, again meant to symbolize the legal system.

Is Law restrictive and limiting or can it be liberating and provide people a sense of agency when it comes to sexual expression and sexual rights?

In this issue of In Plainspeak, we encounter varied viewpoints that highlight the power as well as the limitation of law in terms of sexuality.

In the Issue in Focus, Oishik Sircar emphasises the role played by law in the development of nuances around sexuality and how one needs to be mindful of the relationship between law and sexuality. Taking this further, Arvind Narrain in the Interview Section, locates law in alternative spaces and combines it with other tools such as mass mobilisation, campaigning and working closely with groups working at the ground level with a range of socio-political issues.

In the Voices Section, Swagata Raha discusses the role played by the judiciary in implementing the recently enacted POCSO Act, 2012 and how it seems to limit the sexual agency of young people below the age of 18 years. Rupsa Mallik also focuses on constraints placed by both the POCSO Act and the Information Technology Act and how they affect the implementation of CSE in education curricula. In other words, Law that may be implemented for the protection and safeguarding of individuals in one form is also in some way curbing their freedoms. Jasmine George from TARSHI, urges the law to reassess its position regarding the ban on sex toys and to engage with sexuality in a positive way.

In the Hindi Section, we share  AALI’s (Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives) advocacy kit and Hindi-language booklet on the Right to Choice, guidelines and information for individuals and organisations dealing with Right to Choice cases.

The Video Section features Namita Aavriti of the Alternative Law Forum speaking about the petition filed in the Supreme Court seeking a ban on online pornography from the prism of freedom of speech and privacy laws. She spoke as a part of the EroTICs India project.

In the I Column, we have Neetika Vishwanath, who shares her experiences of being a young feminist lawyer in the town of Lucknow. She enlists her experiences while dealing with judiciary and police machineries and how her gender plays a role in negotiating these circumstances.

While these articles highlight the complexities in the terrain of sexuality and the law, other sections aim to discover spaces for dialogue within sexuality. In the Brushstrokes section, Anirban Ghosh’s sketches portray the life of Monaz, who works at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad as a senior ‘male’ nurse and calls herself transgender (Male to Female). The sketches depict her daily life beautifully along with her struggles despite the passing of the recent Koushal Judgement. Trina Banerjee’s review of Dahan, a film by Rituparno Ghosh, beautifully elucidates how the web of familial and societal dynamics ensnare and trap us into losing not only our sexual autonomy but possibly all of ourselves.

The Gallery section has a collection of Zubaan posters that highlights patriarchy and oppression focusing on police brutality against women, and info-graphics based on CREA’s findings of their survey conducted about knowledge of laws among adolescent girls in three states of India.

The law can liberate. It can also oppress. Let’s be wise about how we seek to use it.

Look out for the new content for our brand new widgets – The Food CornerThe Tech Corner, FAQs. And also check out the blog roll section on the 15th of the month to read articles sourced from other blogs.

We look forward to your feedback on the blog as well as your contributions to future editions.


Cover Image: Creative Commons