Homosexuals in India have always had a tough time living under constant fear of being punished for being what they are. When the world is not only legalising homosexuality but also celebrating same sex marriages in public, India is losing a lot of talented people by criminalising love.
In 2013, the Supreme Court of India had restored Section 377, a controversial British era ban on consensual gay sex. There has been an uproar in the country against it. The law has been challenged by petitioners including some LGBTQ rights activists, a celebrity chef, a famous hotelier, a journalist, a dancer and his partner and a business woman.
The stigma around homosexuality and the criminalisation of it has led several countries invite the homosexuals from India to seek asylum under LGBTQ refugees. The youth affected by the law either take that chance to seek a peaceful and accepting life and those who stay back spend most of their time and energy in fighting the government, society and their families for something that should have been their right in the first place.
Finally after years of fighting, a five judge bench of the Supreme Court of India gave a unanimous decision decriminalising section 377, making gay sex legal in the country. Homosexuality has got a legal approval and recognition in the country.
The judges have said that the history owes an apology to the LGBTQ community. It is impossible to change what has happened but it is time to move to a brighter future. The panel has also asked the centre to provide wide periodic publicity in order to eliminate stigma attached to the community.
The law also decriminalised all forms of unnatural consensual sex including oral and anal sex. Carnal activities with minors and animals are still criminal according to the law.
The verdict has led the community to celebrate heartily.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor who has been a big supporter of gay rights has tweeted, “So pleased to learn that the Supreme Court has ruled against criminalising sexual acts in private. This decision vindicates my stand on Section 377 & on exactly the same grounds of privacy, dignity & constitutional freedoms. It shames those BJP MPs who vociferously opposed me in LS.”
Actress Sonam Kapoor has also tweeted, “This is the india I want to live in. Not one filled with hate, bigotry,sexism homophobia and intolerance. THIS is the India I love.”
The judges have acknowledged the fact that the law was causing many Indians to hide their identity. It was a breach in freedom of expression for them. Finally, after years this has been corrected. And we hope that we would move forward accepting all forms of love. For it is only love that can lead all of us to coexist with peace.
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The CSR Journal Team