LGBT

The Supreme Court of India made a historic decision for the LGBT community by ruling that gay sex is no longer a criminal offense. The new ruling has amended the 2013 judgement that upheld the law of the colonial era known as the section 377 under which gay sex was mentioned as an unnatural offense. The court has ruled discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a fundamental violation of rights in September 6, 2018.

Soon after the judgement was announced, a crowd of campaigners outside the court cheered and many broke down in tears. The public opinion in the biggest cities in India have been in favour of scrapping the law but some strong opposition still remains among some of the religious groups and in conservative rural communities. However, the new ruling by the highest court in India is the final say and is also a big victory for the LGBT community in India.

One of the activists outside the court said, “I hadn’t come out to my parents until now. But today, I guess I have.” The judgement was delivered by a bench of five judges headed by the outgoing chief justice Dipak Misra and the decision was unanimous. Misra while reading out the judgement said, “Criminalising carnal intercourse is irrational, arbitrary and manifestly unconstitutional.” Another judge Indu Malhotra said that the history owes an apology to the LGBT community. Justice DY Chandrachud said that the state does not have any rights to control the private lives of the LGBT community members and that the denial of the right to sexual intercourse was equal to denying the right to privacy.

The new ruling allows gay sex among the consenting adults in private. Section 377 was a 157 year old colonial era law that had criminalized certain sexual acts as unnatural offenses which are punishable by a ten year jail term. Human rights groups have said that the police have used the statute to harass as well as abuse the members of the LGBT community.

Photo Credits: Hindustan Times

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