Two days ago, our Supreme Court passed a 495 page judgment written by a 5 Judge Constitutional Bench essentially stating this: Gay people can finally have sex with each other and not be branded criminals!
The first thing that goes through everyone’s mind when you read this is why were gay people having sex even branded as criminals first?
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unequivocally branded adults having consensual sex as criminals and subjected them to imprisonment and fine, if the same was “against order of nature”. The Section was introduced back in 1860 and has been protested against tons of times.
In January of this year, five different people went to our Supreme Court and asked them to strike down the Section because it denied the LGBT community their basic fundamental rights.
In July of this year, the Supreme Court heard all arguments and reserved its judgement and on 6th September, the Bench passed a HUGE judgement covering tons of different aspects and laying down some very important precedents.
The judgement was passed by the Chief Justice of India (just before he finishes his term on October 2nd) along with conjuring judgments by four other judges, all of them speaking all kinds of sense. The huge judgement analyzed the meaning of sexual orientation, the meaning of individual identity and tied it all together by placing reliance on judgements from various other countries where same-sex consensual relationships have been legal for a long time.
I sat and read through the first 100 pages of the judgment (the CJI’s judgement) and can safely say that it is a very progressive judgement. Some of may favourite parts from the CJI’s judgment are these:
“As sexual orientation is an essential and innate facet of privacy, the right to privacy takes within its sweep the right of every individual including that of the LGBT to express their choices in terms of sexual inclination without the fear of persecution or criminal prosecution.”
“Biologically, the difference between a gay man and a straight man is something like the difference between a left-handed person and a right-handed person. Being left- handed isn’t just a phase. A left-handed person won’t someday magically turn into a right-handed person. Some children are destined at birth to be left- handed, and some boys are destined at birth to growup to be gay.”
The judgement has finally made homosexuality legal in India and comes as a huge, huge step towards progressive thinking. Over the years, the Supreme Court in our country has actually started passing really meaningful judgments, especially ensuring that the rights of the people in the country are not being violated.
P.S: Almost cried when I heard about the judgment + had MASSIVE goosebumps.