Indu Malhotra, lone woman judge on Bench, makes a strong case against Section 377

Indu Malhotra  

Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone woman judge on the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court hearing the fight against Section 377 of the IPC, made a strong case against criminalisation of homosexuality.

Justice Malhotra, the junior-most member of the Bench of five led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said homosexuality is only a variation and not an aberration.

But the prejudice and stigma piled on the LGBTQ community has denied it even basic medical care in the country.

The community is so inhibited by societal scorn that it prefers to forego medical care, especially in rural and semi-urban parts of the country, Justice Malhotra said.

On the third consecutive day of hearing, Justice Malhotra spoke of the pressure on homosexual people from within the home. They succumb to marry the opposite sex, leading to a life of mental trauma and bi-sexuality.

The judge spoke of how homosexuality is not against the order of nature and is nature itself. Hundreds of animal species show the same sexual orientation.

Chief Justice Misra said stigma is the root cause of suffering for the community. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud expressed the hope that social stigma vanish if Section 377 is struck down by the court. The judge said Section 377 creates an environment which is conducive for discrimination of individuals on the ground of their sexuality.

Senior advocate Ashok Desai, for a petitioners, submitted that a culture of acceptance has prevailed over all odds.

Senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal submitted that Section 377 impinges on the right to liberty, dignity and conscience.

Freedom of expression

Mr. Venugopal spoke of the extent to which LGBTQ persons are denied their fundamental right to express themselves.

He said a person from the LGBTQ community is unable to express himself in dress, conduct or speech in public view. They are denied the freedom to express their identity.

“I am unable to express my core identity, beliefs. This violates my right to conscience... There is the constant pressure of pretending to be someone else,” Mr. Venugopal said.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 6:52:05 AM |

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