Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

India makes history by decriminalising gay sex

India makes history by decriminalising gay sex

Advocate of the Supreme Court & Executive Chairman of State Legal Aid Committee, J&K reacting strongly on the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court today striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code opening the gates for homosexuals to destroy the cultural values which have been honoured by all civilized human beings on the earth.

"So proud today! Decriminalizing homosexuality and abolishing section 377 is a huge thumb up for humanity and equal rights!"

Gay sex had been punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Members of the LGBT community hugged each other and cried outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi as news of the verdict spread.

India's Supreme Court is due to deliver a landmark verdict on Thursday, when it will decide if gay sex should remain a criminal offence in the country.

Section 377, an archaic law imposed during British rule that penalizes intercourse "against the order of nature", carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The bench said courts must protect the dignity of an individual as right to live with dignity is recognised as fundamental right.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had said it would support any decision by the Supreme Court but one prominent member of the party criticised the court ruling.

While the apex court is likely to announce the verdict shortly, here's a read on What is Section 377? The co-author of a homophobia report tells CNN 30 of almost 50 former British colonies still have the colonial-era anti-LGBT laws on the books; Al Jazeera notes nearby Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh still consider homosexuality illegal.

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"Section 377 IPC, so far as it penalizes any consensual sexual relationship between two adults, be it homosexuals (man and a man), heterosexuals (man and a woman) or lesbians (woman and a woman), and can not be regarded as constitutional".

The petitioners are Bharatnatyam dancer Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, Neemrana hotel chain co-founder Aman Nath and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur.

"It is about an aspiration to realise constitutional rights and the equal existence of the LGBT community as other citizens".

Hundreds of LGBTQ campaigners, who had gathered outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, broke into loud cheers as news of the ruling reached them.

They had sought decriminalisation of consensual sex between two consenting adults of the same sex by declaring Section 377 illegal and unconstitutional.

"History owes an apology to the LGBT community and their families for the ignominy, ostracisation and discrimination against them".

Even as the community celebrates, it will have to gear up for other battles, said another gay rights activist, Ruth Chawngthu."A lot of people think that this is the end and everyone is going to have rights now, marriage, equality and whatever, but this not the end, this is just the beginning and we have a long way to go".

Reading down Section 377 IPC, the Constitution Bench said its provision will however continue to govern sexual acts against minors besides acts of bestiality. With regard to sexuality and health, it is important to recognize the difference between individual rights and conduct that harms others (non-consensual sex).

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