Thursday, 20 September, 2018

India scraps colonial-era ban on gay sex in landmark ruling

A supporter of the LGBT community takes part in a gay pride parade in the Indian city of Chennai A supporter of the LGBT community takes part in a gay pride parade in the Indian city of Chennai
Jay Anderson | 10 September, 2018, 10:33

Reactions poured in from all quarters - of relief, joy and of finally being able to identify, and hailed the Supreme Court for its verdict.

Others who have filed petitions against section 377 are journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur.

CJI Misra, who wrote the judgment for himself and Justice Khanwilkar, said the denial of self-expression was akin to inviting death. "Society needs to evolve", said Bhuwan Kathuria as he stood outside the court waving a banner.

Justice Chandrachud was addressing the 19 Annual Bodh Raj Sawhny Memorial Oration 2018 organised by the National Law University, Delhi (NLU-D). "It will also pave the way for anti-discrimination laws and equal opportunity laws for LGBT persons", said Gowthaman Ranganathan, a lawyer who represented one of the interveners.

What Happened In The Court That Day?

The Supreme Court scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex on Thursday, in a landmark judgement that sparked celebrations across India and elsewhere in South Asia, where activists hope to push for similar reform.

The Centre had earlier said that the other aspects of the penal provision dealing with minors and animals should be allowed to remain in the statute book.

"LGBT Community has same rights as of any ordinary citizen".




In its ruling Thursday, the court said it must protect an individual's right to live with dignity as a fundamental right. He noted, "Human sexuality can not be confined to a binary". "On July 12, Justice Indu Malhotra said, "(Homosexuality) is not an aberration, but a variation.Because of family pressures and societal pressures, they are forced to marry the opposite sex and it leads to bi-sexuality and other mental trauma". Justice Nariman said homosexuality can not be regarded as "mental disorder" and homosexuals had the right to live with dignity.

This means that while Section 377 will continue to be part of Indian penal law, it can no longer be used to criminalize consensual sex between people of the same gender. Several social activists and human right activists have been fighting for human rights and were registered as respondents in the pending curative petitions before this Supreme Court have chose to take up the matter for the both before the Supreme Court as well as before the Parliament of India.

Today's SC decision is truly historic.

LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community faced the stigma because of the criminality attached to consensual same-sex relationship, the bench had said.

India's Supreme Court had, in 2013, restored Section 377, a British-era law that bans gay sex.

In so far as consensual unnatural sexual act in private is concerned, it is neither harmful nor contagious to society, the bench said.

Justice Chandrachud, while reading out the operative portion of his verdict, said members of LGBTQ community were targeted and exploited due to Section 377.

"The only thing that's going to change is we can be assured that we won't be counted as criminals for loving someone", Roop said.

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