Former Delhi minister for women and child development, Sandeep Kumar is allegedly involved in a sex scandal. What is this scandal, what is being alleged and by whom? Nobody is sure about it. As of now the facts are like this — a CD appeared in Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s mail which contained ‘objectionable’ visuals of a half-dressed Sandeep Kumar with two women. There is no mention of any violence in the video or exchange of cash transaction.
When was the CD made, when did it reach Kejriwal and how, what is the location of the events, who are the women – none of these facts are established yet. The CD was anonymously dropped at Kejriwal’s office. Media is calling the anonymous person a whistle-blower. Usually whistle-blowers expose corruptions and scandals by making considerable evidence public. In this case, all we got is a CD with nine minutes of visuals without any context. The person probably has explored all means by which more damage could have been caused but found none. As such, nobody has come forward to allege any crime of rape, force, coercion, corruption, cheating or adultery.
Visuals of a man with women other than his wife in compromising positions by itself is not a scandal unless somebody reports a crime or files any kind of complaint with any authority, seeking any kind of justice.
Yet the nation is morally outraged at the mere fact that a man had sex. Because sex is against our culture and we all fall from trees. Media is doing all kinds of sleazy speculations and with each speculation outrage level increases with dramatic sound effects. There were two women. Horror! The minister himself was recording the video. Double horror! My naïve nation doesn’t know that recording consensual act of love making can become quite a pleasurable activity.
For all we know, there is some role playing and voyeurism going on, might be even with the consent and active participation of the wife. I am just saying anything is possible in this 'sanskari' nation.
The outrage is double because the man was in charge of the women and child ministry. Had he been transport minister or something it would have perhaps been understandable. But, if you care for women’s issues, you have to be morally superior and should not have kinky sex. Women’s body here once again is an area of contestation for the nation. We are moral vigilantes and we do it for the nation’s women.
Outrage is triple because apparently the former minister committed a crime of adultery against the wife and the nation is weeping for the plight of the poor woman. Dear nation, before you reach the third level of moral outrage, please know that even if you prove adultery it doesn’t benefit the woman. It only establishes a man’s right over a woman’s body. Unlike rape or domestic violence, adultery is not a crime committed against women. It is committed by one man against another man. The adultery law treats married women as their husband’s chattel. It gives the husband the right to establish his ownership over the wife’s body (his chattel)and punish whoever uses the chattel. The chattel’s consent here is not required. The chattel also cannot bring charges of adultery against her owner (husband).
Section 497 of Indian Penal Code defines adultery as—"Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor."
It is a non-cognizable and bailable offense, which means police cannot act on its own unless somebody comes and files an FIR but police may grant bail on its own without taking the matter to the magistrate.
The charge of adultery is similar to charges of somebody stealing fodder. Why did your cattle graze in my farm? Why did you steal fruit from my orchard? Why did you have sex with my wife? The operative words are ‘wife of another man’ and ‘without consent or connivance of that man’.
A married woman is a man’s property. He can stop other men from having an affair with her. In the present case, AAP MLA's wife does not have any locus standi to bring a case against him. Only the husband of the women involved in sex tape can bring a case of adultery. Is the nation so concerned about the obscure man's rights? But she has no right to stop her husband from going out and having sex with other women. Adultery law in India is one of the most regressive laws and goes against everything women’s movement has ever fought for — dignity, individuality and the basic right to be treated as human beings.
It is a shame that self-appointed custodians of women’s sexuality are shedding crocodile tears for so called ‘poor woman’ raising crime of adultery. So please dear nation, you may have a right to be morally outraged at whatever you wish, but please don't do it in women’s name. My body or my honour is just mine, not of the nation to be outraged about.