India decriminalizes homosexual acts in landmark verdict for world’s largest democracy

India decriminalizes homosexual acts in landmark verdict for world’s largest democracy

India decriminalizes homosexual acts in landmark verdict for world’s largest democracy

But same-sex couples have also been harassed for centuries in many Indian communities, whether Hindu, Muslim or Christian.

India's Supreme Court has ruled that gay sex is no longer a criminal offence in the country.

"Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - can not be said to be unconstitutional", said the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, as he read out the judgment.

While India's law only legalises sexual acts between adults, gay activists have hailed the verdict as a major boost in the deeply conservative country where religious groups have fiercely opposed any liberalisation of sexual morality.

"Take me as I am", said CJI Misra, quoting the German philosopher Nietzsche. "The Fundamental Rights of even a single individual can not be infringed upon".

The controversial legislation has been widely used to clamp down on the LGBT+ community in India, which is home to 1.3 billion people. This is keeping in mind the fact that a lot of women have complained about being forced into "unnatural sex", which includes anal and oral sex, by their husbands or partners. "Section 377 results in discrimination and is violative of constitutional principles". Time to empower LGBTIQ community against discrimination.

In court filings that stretched for hundreds of pages, more than two dozen petitioners related the emotional cost of living closeted lives, 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 behaviour illegal.

"Treatment of homosexuality as a disorder/ disease has a severe impact on the mental health of such persons". Even as Britain has come up with laws which uphold the rights of the members of the LGBTQ community, India is still battling to understand its constitutional validity. He directed the Centre to give wide publicity to this judgment to remove the stigma attached to homosexuality.

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Any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Fundamental Rights.

"They can not be pushed into obscurity by an oppressive colonial legislation", he continued.

The judges in the case had previously said that gay people in India faced deep-rooted trauma and live in fear.

The verdict comes are a huge relief and a historic moment of celebration not just for the LGBTQ community but for everyone who stands for an individual's right and dignity to be who they want to be.

In 2009, the Delhi high court had decriminalised gay sex, ruling that a ban on a consensual sexual relationship between gay men is a violation of fundamental rights.

In December 2013, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice GS Singhvi and Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya in the Suresh Kumar Koushal and another vs Naz Foundation and others case had set aside the high court's judgement and said that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.

"The sodomy law that became the model everywhere, from Uganda to Singapore to the United Kingdom itself, premiered in India, becoming the confusing and dehumanizing standard replicated around the world", she said in a statement, saying "today's historic outcome will reverberate across India and the world".

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