It is going to be an important day tomorrow and could well be a landmark one if the Supreme Court (of India) accepts the demand by activists (and by the ‘logically thinking’ people) and delivers a verdict overturning its December 2013 verdict recriminalizing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), that, in turn, overturned a Delhi High Court order of July 2009 decriminalizing 377.
Section 377 dates back to our colonial times, to 1860, and legally bars ‘sexual activities between persons of same sex’.
It is simply draconian. Criminalizing such activities through 377 was wrong even then – back in 1860 – because it was simply against the nature of ‘nature’ – was against the natural flow of the right to privacy in each individual’s life.
Like in matters of worship and religion (or even food habits), sexual preferences of an individual is a private, intimate matter and others should not poke in their nose there. Okay, it was a different society and social values back then in 1860 – in India and across the world. But that is now some 160 years back.
Much has changed in these days. The world has seen a sea change in its appearance. The worlds of 1860 and 2016 are entirely different.
So why not upheld that ‘fundamental law of nature of not interfering in private lives of others’ now?
Is enough still not enough for terms like LGBT discrimination and 377 misuse?
And even the Supreme Court, while recriminalizing the Section 377 again, observed that the ‘Parliament was the appropriate place to repeal the IPC section’. So, in a way, it was not a direct denial. But then, decriminalizing 377 was always a sensitive political issue in our country and therefore was never a guarantee. So it was better if the court did it.
Then, now could be the time – that tomorrow could be the day when we will be able to undo a social wrong that is centuries old – and has been used and misused consistently?
Can we sense what can be in store tomorrow with an important observation by the Madras High Court today on homosexuality? According to a report, a judge of the Madras High Court observed, “Why not the central government amend marriage laws to include the homosexuality as valid ground for divorce, as gays and lesbians cannot exhibit interest on the opposite sex which is required for consummation of marriage?”
The judge further said, “More than 30 countries, including a conservative nation like Ireland, have decriminalised homosexuality and legalised gay marriage by way of referendum.
And then he questioned, “Could LGBT be considered as offenders merely for having exhibited their natural sexual orientation and their sexual acts, which are different?”
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/