Sexual Lives of Juridical Governance
State Scripts: Antisodomy Law and the Annals of Law and Law Enforcement
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.
“Half Truths”: Racializations, Habitual Criminals, and the Police
Continuing the focus on juridical aspects of the state, this chapter turns to the antisodomy law’s significance to practices and discourses of law enforcement. Fieldwork conducted with the Delhi Police highlights the subjective, sexualized aspects of law enforcement that are analyzed in this chapter in two ways. First, pivoting around discussions with police constables and more senior members of the Delhi Police, the chapter shows that the generic homosexual is not the primary target of law enforcement. Rather the crucial insight is that policing in Delhi is more likely to imperil racialized religious minorities, particularly Muslims, whom the police associate with sexual crimes. Making the case that Muslims are being racialized within the national context and specifically within police discussions, the chapter helps explain the inconsistencies of policing and the endemic forms of prejudice that so quickly rise to the forefront in relation to enforcing the antisodomy law. Second, indicating how police also target hijras, the analysis addresses the flexible uses of Section 377 that permit governance well beyond the law’s scope.