oppn parties Major Victory For Gays, SC Decriminalizes Sec. 377

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Former Delhi CM and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit dies following a cardiac arrest. She was 81
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Major Victory For Gays, SC Decriminalizes Sec. 377

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Finally, the LGBT community can heave a sigh of relief – their rights have been given a stamp of legality by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court that has read down the provisions of Section 377 of the IPC. The court has said that history owes apology to the gay community. Calling the section “irrational, arbitrary and incomprehensible”, the court struck it down as far as it related to consensual and private sex between adults, regardless of gender. The court, however, chose to retain the provisions of the section that relates to unnatural sex with animals and children.

The court has recognized the right of adult individuals to indulge in sexual orientation of their choice in the privacy of their homes. The court said that homosexuality is neither a mental disorder nor is it unnatural. It is just a different call of the body. Hence, it comes under the right to privacy which is concurrent to the right to life. The court said that “punishment under section 377 made the LGBT a closeted community, destroyed the identity of members and breached their dignity, all part of right to life.”

This is a historic judgment that recognizes the fact that all human beings should have full control over their bodies and it is no one’s business to hinder sexual acts between consenting adults on the pretext that they are unnatural. Who is to decide what ‘straight’ sex is? For a gay person, sex between a woman and a man may be unnatural. For long has society ostracized gays and the law has penalized them for something over which they have no control and which is not a disease that it can be cured. Right wing activists have called the judgment ‘retrograde’, fuelling fears that there will not be any let up in the persecution, if not by the law than by self-styled guardians of society. The government must ensure that this does not happen.