LGBT RIGHTS IN INDIA: A 16-YEAR LONG LEGAL BATTLE - The Fearless Indian
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LGBT RIGHTS IN INDIA: A 16-YEAR LONG LEGAL BATTLE

  • Anjalika Rawat
  • August 22, 2017
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It is a commonly known fact that homosexuality is considered as a taboo in the Indian society.

Homosexuality needs to be de-criminalised for the freedom of choice, but it is still considered as “aberrant behaviour”. Sec -377 of IPC which came into force in 1862 defines—unnatural offences.

It says, “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extent to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

“ It was first started in 2001 where Naz foundation filed PIL in delhi HC seeking legislature of gay sex among consenting adults. But in 2004 HC dismissed the PIL seeking decriminalisation of gay sex.

Successive Governments have defended the archaic sec 377 IPC which was based on 19th century Victorian Morality. But it was seen that the intense debate in the society and the media had forced the Govt. to change its stance.

 After eluding it for years, political consensus is slowly building on the issue. The BJP Govt. which had supported the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding Section 377 IPC now appears to support the Delhi High Court de-criminalising consensual homosexual acts in private.

In its landmark April 2014 verdict hailed by gender rights activists, the top court directed the Government to declare transgenders a ‘third gender’ and include them in the OBC quota. Underlining the need to bring them into the mainstream, it said they should have all rights under law, including marriage, adoption, divorce, succession and inheritance.

The bill is still in a passive stage however, there have been many positive developments in favour of LGBT community on the International front. In May 2015, Ireland legalised same-sex marriages.

The country which had decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 became the first country to allow same sex marriage on a national level by popular vote. France, UK, Canada, United States, Australia and Brazil have all de-criminalised homosexuality.

Other countries like Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay allow either same sex marriage or a civil union.

India currently stands with a host of countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Qatar and Pakistan which criminalizes homosexuality.

I strongly believe that India should now move towards being equal where anybody’s regressive belief does not deny the right to be treated as an equal member of society, and the right to enjoy the Constitution’s foundational liberties to any individual.

It is a commonly known fact that homosexuality is considered as a taboo in the Indian society. Homosexuality needs to be de-criminalised for the freedom of choice, but it is still considered as “aberrant behaviour”. Sec -377 of IPC which came into force in 1862 defines—unnatural offences. It says, “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extent to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine. “ It was first started in 2001 where Naz foundation filed PIL in delhi HC seeking legislature of gay sex among consenting adults. But in 2004 HC dismissed the PIL seeking decriminalisation of gay sex. Successive Governments have defended the archaic sec 377 IPC which was based on 19th century Victorian Morality. But it was seen that the intense debate in the society and the media had forced the Govt. to change its stance.  After eluding it for years, political consensus is slowly building on the issue. The BJP Govt. which had supported the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding Section 377 IPC now appears to support the Delhi High Court de-criminalising consensual homosexual acts in private. In its landmark April 2014 verdict hailed by gender rights activists, the top court directed the Government to declare transgenders a ‘third gender’ and include them in the OBC quota. Underlining the need to bring them into the mainstream, it said they should have all rights under law, including marriage, adoption, divorce, succession and inheritance. The bill is still in a passive stage however, there have been many positive developments in favour of LGBT community on the International front. In May 2015, Ireland legalised same-sex marriages. The country which had decriminalized homosexuality in 1993 became the first country to allow same sex marriage on a national level by popular vote. France, UK, Canada, United States, Australia and Brazil have all de-criminalised homosexuality. Other countries like Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay allow either same sex marriage or a civil union. India currently stands with a host of countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Qatar and Pakistan which criminalizes homosexuality. I strongly believe that India should now move towards being equal where anybody’s regressive belief does not deny the right to be treated as an equal member of society, and the right to enjoy the Constitution’s foundational liberties to any individual.

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