Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

UP, Kerala Top Number Of Cases Registered Under Section 377

India's top court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex Section 377: Supreme Court Renders India's Archaic Law Unconstitutional In Historic Verdict
| 10 September, 2018, 10:32

In a historic victory for LGBT rights, India's Supreme Court has overturned Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which had deemed consensual gay sex a crime. The Centre had said that the other aspects of the penal provision dealing with minors and animals should be allowed to remain in the statute book.

Section 377 defines "unnatural offenses" and claims that whoever consensually has gay sex shall be imprisoned for 10 years as per the 1861 law.

For the lawyers representing more than a dozen gay and lesbian Indians who petitioned the court, the legal acceptance of same sex relations could finally signal an end to the harassment and persecution of the LGBT community.

India's conservative government had opposed ending Section 377 but said ahead of the hearing that it would leave the decision to the "wisdom" of the Supreme Court.

"Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - can not be said to be unconstitutional", said the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, as he read out the judgment.

Across the country, gay people gathered in front of their television sets, waiting anxiously for the verdict to be announced.

The ruling strikes down a 146-year-old colonial-era law, known as Section 377, banning gay sex.

Activists had been fighting the ban since the 1990s, suffering several court reverses before Thursday's verdict which sparked celebrations among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups (LGBT) across India.

The court said in 2009 that Section 377 is a violation of fundamental rights in the constitution.


Justice Chandrachud, while reading out the operative portion of his verdict, said members of LGBTQ community were targeted and exploited due to Section 377. "Sexual orientation is one of the many biological phenomena which is natural and inherent in an individual and is controlled by neurological and biological factors".

Meanwhile, the Congress has tweeted congratulatory messages, welcoming "the progressive and decisive verdict of the Supreme Court", even though Congress President Rahul Gandhi has himself not shared his thoughts yet.

He said the denial of right to sexual orientation was akin to denial of right to privacy and the society can not dictate sexual relationship between consenting adults as it was a private affair.

But the ruling is just the beginning, says Manvendra, who came out in 2006.

"So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing section 377 is a huge thumb up for humanity and equal rights!"

Also read: Section 377 verdict: Can we start calling the CJI the CEO of India?

But in January this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge by a clutch of high-profile Indians who said the law created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the world's largest democracy.

Amazingly, one of the judges, Justice Indu Malhotra, called for an apology to the LGBT community.

He said that out of the many layers of the judgment, the most significant part was where "we try and give individual dignity, the autonomy, the choice and liberty of an individual, some substantive content".

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