Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle over the Antisodomy Law in India
Sexual Lives of Juridical Governance
Shifting attention to Section 377’s archives, the chapter explores the subjective histories of this statute. Showing that case law and police crime reports for the antisodomy law are primarily related to child sexual assault, this chapter reveals the irrationalities of a law used quite differently from its original intent. This approach leads to a fuller understanding of how juridical mechanisms bring within its fold a web of crime, sexual practices, and subjects, thereby reaffirming the indispensability of law and, by extension, the state in preserving sociosexual order. Reading case law from the angle of sexual violence against children reveals a steady expansion in the range of sexual practices and discourses that fall within the ambit of governance. As such, case law and police crime reports do not support a Foucauldian understanding of “the homosexual” as the beleaguered subject of the antisodomy law. Arguing for the need to disentangle the homosexual from these records of child sexual violence, the discussion cautions that Foucauldian readings of law and homosexuality risk giving more strength to the state, by assuming it is the primary site of injustice and the arbiter of justice.