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India’s Supreme Court has legalised
homosexuality and gay sex and
decriminalised Section 377 of the Indian
Penal Code, holding out promise of a new
dawn in personal liberty and sexual
orientation.
The five judge-bench headed by Chief
Justice of India Dipak Misra delivered the
much awaited verdict on Thursday,
according to Deccan Chronicle
Chief Justice Misra observed that, LGBT
Community has same rights like any
ordinary citizen. Respect for each others
rights, and others are supreme humanity.
Criminalising gay sex is irrational and
indefensible.
“No one can escape from their
individualism. Society is now better for
individualism. In the present case, our
deliberations will be on various spectrums,”
CJI Misra said.
“Sustenance of identity is the pyramid of
life,” CJI Misra added.
India’s Supreme Court had in 2013
restored Section 377, a British-era law that
bans gay sex. It had overturned a landmark
judgement by the Delhi High court in 2009
which had ruled that consenting
intercourse between two adults was not
illegal.
The position of the court then was that
overturning the outdated law was the job
of Parliament, which can decide on
scrapping laws.
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code bans
“carnal intercourse against the order of
nature with any man, woman or animal”.
Gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in
jail under the 1861 law. Prosecution under
Section 377 is, however, not common, but
activists complain that authorities use the
law to harass or scare gay people.
After the 2013 verdict, five high-profile
petitioners – Bharatnatyam dancer Navtej
Johar, documentary filmmaker Sunil Mehra,
restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, hotelier and
historian Aman Nath and business
executive Ayesha Kapur – challenged it and
became the human faces of this battle.
Before their entry, the battle was fought
since the early nineties by NGOs, the Naaz
Foundation being one of them.
While reserving the verdict on July 17 this
year, Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M
Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu
Malhotra brushed aside as “far-fetched” the
arguments from opponents of
decriminalisation of Section 377 that it
could also legalise incest, group sex and
sodomy.
The top court had also said, “no one should
have to live in fear because of their
sexuality.”
The five petitioners had argued that Section
377 violates rights principles enshrined in
the constitution, like equality before law, no
discrimination based on religion, race,
caste, sex or place of birth and freedom of
speech and expression.
“No one can escape from their
individualism. Society is now better
for individualism.”–India’s chief Judge.

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