Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Scenes of joy as India finally decriminalises gay sex

India's top court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex Section 377: Supreme Court Renders India's Archaic Law Unconstitutional In Historic Verdict
Faye Gross | 10 September, 2018, 07:45

In a historic decision, the Supreme Court of India today decriminalised gay sex between consenting adults by reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It termed sexual orientation a "biological phenomenon" and held any discrimination on this ground was violative of fundamental rights. Kavi was one of the petitioners in the case along with four other people from the Trust that works the area of health and human rights of sexual minorities. "Any discrimination on the basis of one s sexual orientation would entail a violation of the fundamental right of freedom of expression", it said.

The apex court was emphatic in his opinion that Section 377 of the IPC was a weapon to harass members of the LGBT community, resulting in discrimination. The court will be giving its verdict on the 5 petitions which state that Section 377 violates the basic rights mentioned in the Constitution of India. However, India's struggle against this archaic law dates back to at least a couple of decades when activists and NGOs came together to fight the law that criminalises homosexuality.

Chief Justice Misra observed that, LGBT Community has same rights like any ordinary citizen.

"Constitutional morality can not be martyred at the altar of social morality", Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, reading the verdict. Make way for the progressive realisation of social and economic rights and to begin a dialogue for ensuring individual rights reports, have to bid adieu to perception stereotypes.

The SC has decrimalised Section 377 in India, which was established in 1861 under the British rule. But their treatment - both shunned as impure, and embraced for the belief that they can bring powerful blessings - reflects the complexities of gay life here.

The ruling was appealed, and in 2016 the Supreme Court agreed to revisit the case.

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In January this year, Supreme Court said a larger group of judges would re-consider the previous judgment (which reinforced criminalisation of homosexuality) and examine Section 377's constitutional validity.

While announcing the ruling, numerous justices noted that the unanimous overturning of the law was long overdue. The five petitioners who challenged the law said it was discriminatory and led to gays living in fear of harassment and persecution.

"This section 377 is a bad colonial legacy", Menaka Guruswamy, one of the lawyers representing the petitioners, had argued in court in July.

"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.

Across Indian cities there was an outpouring of joy when the Supreme Court finally made its decision.

"I don't want to sound pessimistic but I don't think we will see gay marriage in my lifetime", he said. "Decriminalisation is but the first step; the constitution envisages much more". "Hats off to all my #LGBT rights activist friends who have battled hard to get here".

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