Emotional celebrations greet India ruling legalising gay sex

10 September, 2018, 10:34 | Author: Bert Pena
  • India's top court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex

People celebrate after the Supreme Court's verdict of decriminalizing gay sex and revocation of the Section 377 law, inside the Supreme Court premises in New Delhi, India, September 6, 2018. Respect for each other's rights and others are supreme humanity. If you engage in same sex, you can land in jail for 10 years under the 1861 law.

Members of the LGBT community hugged each other and cried outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi as news of the verdict spread.

Gay sex is considered taboo by many in socially conservative India, and was reinstated as a criminal offence in 2013 after four years of decriminalisation.

Section 377, an archaic law imposed during British rule that penalizes intercourse "against the order of nature", carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Justice Chandrachud said, "This case is much more than just decriminalising a provision It is about an aspiration to realise Constitutional rights and equal existence of LGBT community as other citizens".

Justice Chandrachud said, "Why do politicians sometimes hand over power to judges and we see that happening in the Supreme Court everyday".

The CJI also said: "Section 377 IPC subjects the LGBT community to societal pariah and dereliction and is, therefore, manifestly arbitrary, for it has become an odious weapon for the harassment of the LGBT community by subjecting them to discrimination and unequal treatment". Indeed, it has been made possible because of the turning point that was seen in this case to quash "377", when the honorable Supreme Court chose to reopen the case.

The ruling came after a 2013 judgment that upheld a colonial-era law, was reaxamined following a number of pleas to decriminalise the draconian law.

Fellow justice Indu Malhotra acknowledged that the ruling was long overdue.

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Former Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said in 2014, "Everybody has human rights, and it is the government's job to protect them".

LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community faced the stigma because of the criminality attached to consensual same-sex relationship, the bench had said.

Initially, the bench debated whether it should look at larger questions beyond sexual orientation but CJI Misra finally observed that the issue of the section's constitutionality should be settled first.

"The sodomy law that became the model everywhere, from Uganda to Singapore to the United Kingdom itself, premiered in India, becoming the confusing and dehumanizing standard replicated around the world", she said in a statement, saying "today's historic outcome will reverberate across India and the world".

Despite the pressure on the LGBT community, India has quietly made some strides in sexual rights in recent years.

Many activists like Suri say that gay marriage and equal inheritance rights for gay couples will be the ultimate equality prize.

Do you possess a right to live your sex?

Clauses which deal with unnatural sex with animals and children still remain in force.

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