Friday, 21 September, 2018

India court legalises gay sex in landmark verdict

Activist charged under India's anti-gay law prays for salvation Activist charged under India's anti-gay law prays for salvation
Gerardo Duncan | 10 September, 2018, 10:31

The Supreme Court's decision prompted a long-awaited release for LGBT+ people in the country, after years of campaigning in the face of state-legislated discrimination.

Section 377 has always been the reason to cause a stir in the society.

Quoting from his 180-page concurring opinion, Justice Chandrachud said: "It is well for a judge to remind himself or herself of the fact that flattery is often the graveyard of the gullible".

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court-comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra-pronounced a unanimous verdict that has been awaited with bated breath by the LGBTQ community for years now.

"The view taken by the SC [the Supreme Court] in Suresh Kumar Koushal [judgment] is impermissible, " the Supreme Court ruled.

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

What Happened In The Court That Day?

Human rights activists hoped the impact of lifting the ban on gay sex would be felt beyond India and prompt other countries that outlaw homosexuality to reconsider their laws.

The bench said the other aspects of Section 377 of the IPC dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children would remain in force.

The bench said the courts must protect the dignity of an individual as right to live with dignity is recognized as a fundamental right. He noted, "Human sexuality can not be confined to a binary".

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

Coming down heavily on the issue of routine discrimination that members of the LGBTQ are subjected to, the diverse group of petitioners said that Section 377 legitimises the stigma associated with sexual orientation and its expression-something which is essential, fundamental, intrinsic and innate to an individual.

The word "landmark" was used generously today to described the Supreme Court's judgment decriminalising consensual gay sex, and - perhaps for the lack of a more flawless word - opened coverage by some of the world's most respected publications.

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.

Scrapped by the Delhi High Court in 2009, the law was reinstated four years later in response to challenges from conservative Hindu, Muslim and Christian groups.

It said Section 377 was a product of Victorian-era morality and there was no reason to continue with it as it enforced Victorian morale on the citizens of the country.

"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. He said his partner will join him in the evening to celebrate and "for the first time in our relationship we will be spending the time as normal human beings, not criminals".

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

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