Indian Supreme Court decriminalises homosexuality in landmark verdict

Indian Supreme Court decriminalises homosexuality in landmark verdict

Indian Supreme Court decriminalises homosexuality in landmark verdict

India's Supreme Court has struck down a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual gay sex, overturning more than 150 years of anti-LGBT legislation.

The bench said courts must protect the dignity of an individual as right to live with dignity is recognised as fundamental right. Kavi was one of the petitioners in the case along with four other people from the Trust that works the area of health and human rights of sexual minorities. The court ruled discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a fundamental violation of human rights. The Supreme Court that has been hearing petitions against the Section 377 will be giving its verdict today. Talking of his experience he said, 'It's unfair that I have more rights in his country than in the country we have chosen to call our home.

Justice Nariman pointed out that India's Mental Healthcare Act had recognised that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and ordered the government to work towards eradicating the stigma surrounding sexual minorities, The Hindu report added.

The court heard petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 - a colonial-era law under which a same-s3x relationship is an "unnatural offence" punishable by a 10-year jail term.

As a result, the LGBT people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community of India were denied of their rights.

"Constitutional morality can not be martyred at the altar of social morality", Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, reading the verdict. It said the State can not persecute people and decide the boundaries between what is permissible or not, holding that Section 377 IPC was based on "deep-rooted stereotypes of the society" that was violative of fundamental rights to equality and life with dignity.

Read | What is Section 377? But their treatment - both shunned as impure, and embraced for the belief that they can bring powerful blessings - reflects the complexities of gay life here.

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The Supreme Court had observed in July, "The question here is whether section 377 is ultra vires or not".

These petitioners had sought decriminalisation of consensual gay sex between adults by declaring Section 377 as unconstitutional. While the verdict was welcomed by many, some religious groups had expressed their displeasure over the verdict and later challenged it in the Supreme Court.

"We are no longer criminals, (but) it will take time to change things on the ground - 20 to 30 years, maybe", said Saha.

The federal government had also left the decision to the Supreme Court.

On Thursday, a leader of a prominent hard-line Hindu group noted that while it doesn't see homosexuality as a crime, it believes gay marriage is not "compatible with nature".

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Undergraduate student at Delhi University, Raabiya (one name only), who came to the court to "celebrate our first day of acceptance in the country", said they often face ridicule in college from other students.

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