Supreme court in India took a historic judgment by decriminalizing section 377 of Indian penal code on Thursday, 6th September. With this decision, sex between two gay partners with the consent in private space is now no more crime.
Homosexuality is not a mental disorder says the apex court
The five judges bench which includes Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra as the head along with Justice Indu Malhotra, DY Chandrachud, Rohinton Nariman and AM Khanwilkar unanimously voted against this rule. The apex court while annulling the section 377 quoted it to be absurd, and indiscriminating.
All the five judges gave their disapproving remarks on the dissolved law in their way. While granting its judgment, the RF Nariman assumed that homosexuality is not a mental disorder but a completely natural.
CJI Dipak Misra declared section 377 as an irrational, arbitrary and incomprehensible rule. Further, he said that it is a violation of the right to equality and the right to privacy towards the member of LGBT members.
Justice DY Chandrachud said that a state should not step into controlling the private life of any citizen whether or not they belong to the LGBT community.
Adding to it, Justice Indu Malhotra said that history owns an apology to the LGBT community members and their families’ prosecution over the years by not granting them equal rights.
What does the Section 377 say?
Homosexuality has always been a taboo in the society. The section 377 talks about the homosexual activity as an offensive, and abnormal activity. Being a homosexual means a person feels sexual attraction for someone of their sex. They include the gay who is the homosexual male and lesbians who are homosexual females.
The section 377 of Indian Penal court was existing in the Indian constitution since 1861. This law says person having carnal intercourse that it termed as unnatural with any man, women or animal is a punishable offence. As a punishment, they will receive imprisonment of up to ten years and have to pay a fine charged by the court.
The colonial law was archaic still hold its ground even after so many years of India Independence. Moreover, it took numerous appeals and argument in court to uproot this old, outdated law. So now it finally grants the liberty which the LGBTIQ people has been waiting for decades.
LGBTIQ right across the world
The LGBTIQ people share an equal pain of injustice in the different part of the world. It’s a matter of shame that most of nation are using the stringent law against such people and consider them equal.
In the middle east countries and a majority of the African nation, conducting sexual activities by these people is a crime. Moreover, the punishment includes life imprisonment, penalty and even death in some cases.
However, in the majority of the western nation such as the United States and European nation along with Australia, they receive an equal right like other citizens. However, their marriage is not legal yet in countries like Chile, Bolivia, Bahamas, and other South American countries.
In the Asian continent, they face a mixed response, but mainly their rights are a controversial topic. Countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Bhutan, Bangladesh do not support such sexual acts and people of LGBTIQ. While other Asian nation made the same-sex sexual activity legal but fail to provide the right to marriage, right to join military and other rights.
In 1811 France became the first nation to decriminalize same-sex sexual activity, and India recently joined this bandwagon. Moreover same-sex marriage is also legal in 26 countries now, but first, it got legalized in the Netherland in 2000. Itfollowed by the UK, the USA, Ireland, Australia, and a few more nations. India has yet not legalized the same-sex marriage.
The long trailing protest by LGBTIQ people comes to an end
The major set of events began with the PIL filed by Naz Foundation Trust of India in 2001. While arguments in the Delhi high court, this non-profit organization asked the court to restrict this law to those cases where it involves non-consent or minors.
The High court dismissed the case in 2003 after which the Naz Foundation challenged it in Supreme Court. Later in 2009, the High Court decriminalize any sexual activity between two adults which is consensual. They further ask the government to make the requiring amendments to in force this law.
However, in 2012 December, the Supreme Court hearing to various appeals challenging the High court verdict, it nullifies the 2009 judgment.
Later in 2015, Shashi Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala brought up a private bill with the objective of legalizing consent sexual act by homosexual people. Unfortunately, the parliament did not have a serious discussion on the bill and trashed it immediately.
However, in 2018 January, the CJI Dipak Misra decided to review the age-old law and gave its judgment in favour of LGBT community people.
The Supreme Court judgment receives a welcoming response across the world
The Supreme court’s decision received an overwhelming response not just within the nation but also around the globe. People from different social arena lauded over the decision and claimed it as a new ray of hope to the LGBTIQ community.
Following the decision, many people tweeted congratulated LGBTIQ people on their victory with a hashtag love is love. Karan Johar, a notable producer, director tweeted that it is a historical decision toward equal right and India gets its oxygen back.
In another tweet actress Swara Bhaskar says that India is a freer state for everyone and congratulated all the activist. Actor Amir Khan tweeted that the Judiciary did its role and now every citizen must respect this verdict.
People from politics like Shashi Tharoor and other fields like music, fashion also expressed their joy on this triumph. Furthermore, different world organization also came out and appreciated this verdict of the Supreme court.
The UN in India said it as the first step towards providing full-fledged fundamental rights to the LGBTIQ community. Amnesty International India expressed it as the beginning of an era of equality.
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Wikipedia: LGBT rights in India