Section 377 verdict: community needed the rainbow of hope, says CJI

‘Beginning of journey towards dignity’

Updated - September 06, 2018 11:14 pm IST

Published - September 06, 2018 11:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI

 An activist waves a rainbow flag (LGBT pride flag) after the Supreme Court verdict, in New Delhi on September 6, 2018.

An activist waves a rainbow flag (LGBT pride flag) after the Supreme Court verdict, in New Delhi on September 6, 2018.

The 2013 Supreme Court judgment in the Suresh Koushal case had upheld Section 377 and set aside the reprieve won by the LGBTQ community when the Delhi High Court in 2009 decriminalised homosexuality. It had cast the community back into the shadows as “unconvicted felons.”

The five-judge Constitution Bench declared that once a nine-judge Bench had declared privacy to be a part of the fundamental right to life, nothing could stop the Supreme Court from upholding bodily autonomy and sexual orientation as a fundamental right too.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in his separate opinion shared with Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, held that the LGBTQ community possessed equal rights as any other citizen. Any societal repression of their innate and biological sexual orientation was against the fundamental right to free expression. Homosexuality was their order of nature.

Chief Justice Misra said the community needed the rainbow of hope for the sake of humanity. It should be allowed to live with dignity and without pretence about its identity. This verdict should be the beginning of a journey towards greater dignity, equality and liberty, he said.

Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, in his separate opinion , held that homosexuals had a fundamental right to live with dignity. They were entitled to be treated as human beings and should be allowed to imbibe the spirit of fraternity. Justice Nariman embraced the Yogyakarta Principles, which recognise freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity as part of human rights.

Justice Chandrachud said medical science should stop being a party to the stigmatisation of homosexuals by “trying to cure something that is not even a disease.” Medical professionals and counsellors should tweak their own attitude. Stigmatisation seriously affected members of the community.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud pointed out that variations in sexual orientation had become a reason for blackmail on the Internet. Quoting Lenoard Cohen, he described how “shadows of a receding past” still controlled the quest of LGBTQ community for fulfilment.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.