Members of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community have requested the State government to amend section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) so that it does not criminalise adult consensual relationships.

Condemning the recent Supreme Court (SC) verdict upholding the validity of section 377 that criminalises sexual acts that are ‘against the order of nature’, the Chennai Rainbow Coalition, which consists of members of the LGBT community, staged a protest march to observe the Global Day of Rage, along with 36 cities in India and across the world on Sunday.

“By overturning the July 2009 Delhi High Court judgement decriminalising consensual relationships between adults in private, the SC has taken all of us — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Indians — back to 1860 when the law was brought into effect,” said Anusha, a member of the coalition.

Senior advocate Sudha Ramalingam said it was possible for the State government to amend section 377 as criminal laws like the IPC and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) come under the concurrent list.

“Laws fall in the Central list, State list and concurrent list. For instance, national security is in the Central list, while municipal administration is in the State list. IPC and CrPC are in the concurrent list which allows the State government to amend them,” she said.

For instance, the State government amended the Hindu Marriage Act to recognise self-respect marriages, she said.

Tamil Nadu has shown the way to the country by bringing in a scheme for the welfare and protection of transgenders, Sudha, another coalition member said. “Similarly, the government should seek a review of the SC ruling and voice dissent for all of us.”

L. Ramakrishnan, also a member said the SC, in a majority of cases, has expanded the rights of citizens but in upholding the validity of an “outdated colonial law”, it has reduced the dignity and rights of sexual and gender minorities.

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