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Ruling and Opposition parties on the same side against Section 377

Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) people, along with their supporters, take part in Namma Pride Bengaluru Queer Habba rally in Bengaluru.

Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) people, along with their supporters, take part in Namma Pride Bengaluru Queer Habba rally in Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: PTI

A rare unity among parties

Majority of political parties welcomed Monday’s Supreme Court ruling to review the contentious Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, five years after its two-judge Bench set aside a Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising homosexuality.

Following its privacy judgment in August last year, the Congress had urged the apex court to re-look at Section 377 IPC. On Monday, too they welcomed the ruling. “Congress welcomes Supreme Court’s decision. Everybody has equal right to live life the way they want,” All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev said.

The CPI (M) too hailed the ruling. “We welcome and hope that the Supreme Court will reverse its own unfortunate judgment earlier. CPI(M) has always been against criminalisation of same sex between consenting adults. Any way in a democracy, police and the state have no business interfering in personal choice of individuals,” party leader Brinda Karat said.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the recently concluded winter session of Parliament answering to a debate had said that consensus needs to be built after a detailed debate on Section 377 IPC. “Any decision that the Supreme Court takes in sync with the jurisprudential developments on gay rights the world over would be welcome. This is the position articulated by the BJP even after the SC's previous judgment,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said on Monday.

In a stark contrast, their ally Shiv Sena welcomed the ruling. “They have the right to live the way they want. What can we say on it,” Shiv Sena MP Arvind Ganpat said.

Appreciating the ruling, Rashtriya Lok Dal spokesperson Manoj Jha said, “There are only very few countries that have criminalised homosexuality. We are happy that Supreme Court has decided to reconsider its old judgment.”

The Nationalist Congress Party too took a more nuanced stand with paty MP Majeed Memon saying that Section 377 of IPC has “sentimental and religious” fall outs and stand of Christian and Muslim communities who are against legalising homosexuality should also be considered.

“The court has to examine constitutional validity in considering whether the prohibition imposed on two adults accounts for violation of their freedom at the same time legitimising may amount to encouraging immorality. Although legality and immoratily are two different concepts SC is embarking upon the test of importance of one over the other,” Mr Memon said.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 12:53:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/political-parties-welcome-sc-ruling-on-homosexuality/article22397791.ece

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