LGBT rights: the journey till now

On Tuesday, February 2, the Supreme Court decided to refer the challenge against Section 377 of the IPC to a five-judge bench, saying it will have a fresh look into the issue.

The Court said several “Constitutional dimensions of importance” are ingrained in the challenge against Section 377, which criminalises homosexuality.

The Court was to take a final call on whether Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises consensual sexual acts of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) adults in private, amounts to denial of their rights to privacy and dignity and results in gross miscarriage of justice.

Section 377

The Indian Penal Code

"Unnatural offences. Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. "

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.

The hearing on Tuesday was a rare remedy afforded to the petitioners, who have waged an almost two-year battle since the filing of their curative petitions in March 2014 for an open-court hearing. They have contended that the review judgment, if not corrected, may result in “immense public injury”.

With that in mind, we take a look at the events that have happened in the run up to the review.

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    A retrograde decision

    The Supreme Court’s retrograde decision to overturn the 2009 Delhi High Court verdict that decriminalised gay sex has enthroned medieval prejudice and dealt a body blow to liberal values and human rights.

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    Looking to a better tomorrow

    It is hard to believe that in 2016 we are still debating the legality of an individual’s sexuality, when in 2014 the Supreme Court’s historic NALSA judgment affirmed the fundamental rights and freedoms of the third gender.

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    A test of dignity and democracy

    Today, as the Supreme Court hears the curative petition on Section 377, it has an opportunity to remember its promise to be the last resort of the oppressed, to let dignity be the domain of all.


Here is a look at how India has handled the dicey issue of homosexuality on celluloid.

How does the rest of the world fare? Here is an interactive map.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 10:34:51 PM |

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