Thursday, 20 September, 2018

India's top court strikes down gay sex ban

India's top court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex Section 377: Supreme Court Renders India's Archaic Law Unconstitutional In Historic Verdict
Ray Hunter | 10 September, 2018, 10:30

'Supreme Court verdict is momentous.

Justice DY Chandrachud said that LGBT+ people "have equal rights", adding that "this case is much more than just decriminalising a provision".

Many activists are expecting the court to overrule its previous judgement.

"Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality and it is only constitutional morality that can be allowed to permeate into the Rule of Law".

"The constitution nurtures dissent as safety valve of society, we can't change history but can pass way for better future", the Supreme Court said.

Parts of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised consensual unnatural sex, are "irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary", the apex court said in its historic ruling that made India the 26th country in the world where homosexuality is legal.

The judgment came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur as well as 20 former and current students of the IITs. This will create a huge discourse around the rights of LGBT persons and it is being ordered by the court to be disseminated in a wide way. "It was not legal and it was based wrongly on the tenets of the constitution", said Colin Gonsalves, one of the lawyers representing the the current group of petitioners, in July. The Supreme Court that has been hearing petitions against the Section 377 will be giving its verdict today.

"Why do politicians sometimes hand over power to judges and we see that happening in the Supreme Court everyday". Let us get out of this maze.

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

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Balachandra isn't the only one who has been optimistic and eager about the judgement.

She told the court: "History owes an apology to these people persecuted by Section 377 for the social ostracism caused by the section".

They believe the court strongly indicated its stance on the matter, in a landmark judgement it made on the right to privacy in August a year ago.

While upholding the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right in 2017, the Supreme Court had termed "sexual orientation as an essential component of human identity".

Justice Chandrachud was one of the judges in that ruling as well.

Dating back to the British era of mid-1800's, this colonial legacy was passed onto India by our colonisers.

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

According to a recent report of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), there are eight countries in which homosexuality can result in a death penalty, and dozens more in which homosexual acts can result in a prison sentence. With this fresh hearing, the petitioners hope that the tag of a criminal which has unjustly been forced upon the members of the community will finally be removed.

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