In a historical and in a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court on the last Thursday, 6th Sep, fragmented the controversial Section 377– a 158-year-old colonial law on consensual gay sex.
The Supreme Court upturned its own decision regarding the Section 377 and stated that all arguments related to this are irrational and arbitrary.
“LGBT Community has same rights as of any ordinary citizen. Respect for individual choice is the essence of liberty; the LGBT community possesses equal rights under the constitution. Criminalising gay sex is irrational and indefensible,” said Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who headed the five-judge bench hearing the case.
This judgment was delivered by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra.
CJI Misra and Justices Nariman, Chandrachud and Malhotra delivered and convey separate, concurring judgments.
The Supreme Court started hearing petitions against the ban in July, starting an emotional debate over the right to freedom and privacy.
Hearing the case, the judges also goes through with some observations that have largely given hope to the gay community.
Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offenses’ and says whoever voluntarily has “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”, shall be punished by up to 10 years in jail under the 1861 law.
However, prosecution under Section 377 is not common, gay activists also stated that the cop uses the law to harass and intimidate members of their community and population.
“I think this is a wonderful moment in Indian history. India has finally acknowledged that it is okay to be different. It is an opportunity for us to open ourselves to our friends who are queer and have genuine conversations about feelings that we generally don’t talk of,” Devdutt Pattanaik, who is known for his interpretations of ancient Indian scriptures.
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