India's top court decriminalizes homosexual acts

India's top court decriminalizes homosexual acts

The Supreme Court's constitution bench had said: "We decide questions of law on the basis of the Constitution, constitutional principles and its ethos and not based on a referendum".

ASG Tushar Mehta submitted the Centre's affidavit before the Supreme Court five judge bench, clarifying its stand to not contest the petitions, leaving the decision to the wisdom of the court.

Delivering the judgement, India's chief justice Dipak Misra, said the law had become a "weapon for harassment for the LGBT community". The contentions of the 2013 judgment were "constitutionally impermissible" and "fallacious", he said, because "the framers of our constitution could have never intended that the fundamental rights shall be extended for the benefit of the majority only".

Many Indians are rejoicing after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality in a historic verdict. "Any violation is against freedom of speech and expression", the court said.

They added: "Bodily autonomy is individualistic". This sction infringed on right against discrimination under Article 15, and privacy under Article 21.

"The focus must now be on ensuring access to justice, including remedy; effective investigations of acts of violence and discrimination; and effective access to economic, social and cultural rights", the statement said. At least one had been arrested, beaten and jailed under Section 377 after handing out condoms near a train station, according to NPR.

"There is a large implication of this judgment". In recent years, leaders from a far-right Hindu nationalist group associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party have come out in support of decriminalisation. The petition has been filed on behalf of the 350 members of a pan-IIT LGBT group, Pravritti. It says that the rights which are granted by the Constitution of India are enjoyed by LGBT community as well.

The erstwhile Section 377 defines "unnatural offences" and prescribes the punishment for it.

"Its not just consensual sex between homosexual partners that this court should recognize, but their love for each other".

"Tell my young clients that their lives will be different", she pleaded.

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This covered the bouts of depression, the abuse, the persecution, the blackmail and the coming-out journeys they had made while living under a shadow that made their most intimate behavior illegal. So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights!

Justice Chandrachud was one of the judges in that ruling as well. The Supreme Court ruled that consensual adult gay sex is not a crime in India.

"Now that we are legal, we finally feel free". The court also partly struck down Section 377 as violative of the right to equality. "It should reflect intent and objective, in consonance with changing times", he added.

However, Iyer is cautious about the future.

"We join the people of India & the LGBTQIA+ community in their victory over prejudice".

The issue was first raised by the NGO, Naaz Foundation, which approached the Delhi High Court in 2001.

Though only the verdict would unfold what holds in store for the LGBTQ community, the loud hints dropped by the SC during the days of hearings point towards relief from the rigour of Section 377 for consensual adult gay sex.

Activists in Muslim-majority Bangladesh and Pakistan said they planned to push for reform of the laws that their countries also inherited from colonial Britain.

Farhan Akhtar also took to Twitter and said, "Bye bye 377".

In 2009 the law was declared unconstitutional but was reinstated in 2013.

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