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Section 377 Verdict LIVE Updates: India Decriminalises Gay Sex, SC Says Can't Punish Consenting Adults

News18.com | September 6, 2018, 7:02 PM IST
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Section 377 verdict LIVE Updates: The Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised consensual sex between homosexuals and read down Section 377 of the IPC. “The ideals of individual autonomy must be preserved. We have to bid adieu to stereotypes and prejudices. Constitutional morality must guide us all,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said. The SC said momentous walk of freedom can be realised when each one of us acknowledges LGBT community possesses the same rights. “We have to bid adieu to stereotypes and prejudices,” said the apex court, adding that intimacy and privacy was a matter of choice while “prejudice and social stigma still affects a certain section of society.”

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra termed the part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which crimiminalises unnatural sex as irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary. The bench, which also comprised Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, read down Section 377 as being violative of right to equality. The top court, in four separate but concurring judgements, set aside its own verdict in the Suresh Kaushal case. Justice Chandrachud asks medical community to sensitise itself about rights of LGBTQ community. Instead of trying to change what is not a disease, counsellors must wake up to these rights
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Sep 6, 2018 7:02 pm (IST)

Activists, artists and civil society members across the country hailed the judgement as a new dawn for personal liberty. 

Sep 6, 2018 6:47 pm (IST)

ALSO READ | How These Men and Women in Black Fought for Rainbow Against Section 377

In 2001, the Lawyers Collective had filed its first petition in the Delhi High Court in favour of decriminalising Section 377 via the Naz Foundation, a non-profit organisation devoted to LGBTQ rights.

Sep 6, 2018 6:40 pm (IST)

Subramanium Swamy says homosexuality is a medical disorder| BJP leader Subramanium Swamy said that what happens in someone's private life should not be of anyone's concern, neither should they be punished. He, however, called homosexuality a genetic disorder and said that medical research must be done to rectify it.  “It is the American game. "Soon there will be gay bars here where homosexuals can go. HIV will spread. So, after looking at the consequences I hope the next government will move a 7 judge bench to set aside this 5 judge bench order,” Swamy was quoted as saying by ANI agency. 

Sep 6, 2018 6:28 pm (IST)

Celebrations were witnessed across the country after Supreme Court's verdict on Section 377. 

Sep 6, 2018 6:22 pm (IST)

ALSO READ | History Owes an Apology to LGBT Community, Says Justice Indu Malhotra in Historic SC Verdict

Writing her first judgment in a Constitution Bench, Justice Malhota said social ostracism against LGBT persons prevents them from partaking in all activities as full citizens, and in turn impedes them from realising their fullest potential as human beings.

Sep 6, 2018 6:11 pm (IST)

The New York Times meanwhile described the ruling as a "groundbreaking victory" for gay rights in India which has put to rest a legal battle that stretched for many years and burying one of the most glaring vestiges of India's colonial past. “Though in recent years more and more Indians have come out, and acceptance of gay, lesbian and transgender people has grown to some degree, the fact that intimate behaviour was still criminalised created much shame and discouraged countless Indians from coming out," the influential paper said. CNN commented that the decision to repeal the law is a major victory for India's LGBT activists and supporters after years of determined struggle. The decision appears to mark the end of a fraught path to legalising homosexuality in modern India, The Guardian newspaper of the UK said, noting that early cases filed in 1994 and then 2001 bounced back and forth for years between higher courts reluctant to rule on the issue.

Sep 6, 2018 6:07 pm (IST)

International Media Lauds Historic SC Verdict Legalising Gay Sex | The world media on Thursday hailed the overturning of a colonial-era law in India that criminalised gay sex, saying the landmark ruling was a boost for gay rights not only in the world's largest democracy but also across the world, PTI reported. The Washington Post said India's top court's ruling was a landmark victory for gay rights in the world's largest democracy.  It noted noted that activists have struggled for more than a decade to invalidate the section of the Indian Penal Code that prohibited consensual "carnal intercourse against the order of nature." The leading American newspaper commented that the ruling is also a boost for gay rights around the globe.  

Sep 6, 2018 5:57 pm (IST)

ALSO READ | I Am a Queer Journalist. This is How I Felt Inside A Newsroom on Section 377 Verdict Day

" Bhaiya, OTP?" my cab driver questions me with an air of studied nonchalance as I hurriedly get into the car, my eyes firmly fixated at my phone's screen, scrolling through a particular hashtag on Twitter.

Sep 6, 2018 5:53 pm (IST)

Amnesty International Welcomes Verdict | Hailing the Supreme Court judgment decriminalising consensual gay sex, Amnesty International India on Thursday said the verdict gave hope to everyone fighting for justice and equality. The judgment closes the door on a dark chapter of Indian history. It marks a new era of equality for millions of people in India," Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India told PTI. "The remarkable victory today is a milestone in the three decade old struggle by the LGBTI community and their allies in India, she added. However, the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community's struggle for their rights including marriage, adoption and inheritance will continue, Basu said. "While today's judgement answers the constitutional invalidity of Section 377, the struggle for the rights of LGBTI people continues, including in relation to marriage, adoption or inheritance, she said.

Sep 6, 2018 5:40 pm (IST)

LGBTQ activist Harish Iyer says that history has been created. 

Sep 6, 2018 5:31 pm (IST)

LGBT community supporters celebrate in Bengaluru after the Supreme Court verdict which decriminalised consensual gay sex. A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court today, unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex, saying it violated the rights to equality. (Photo: PTI)

Sep 6, 2018 5:25 pm (IST)

‘Fight Further for Equality’ | An activist with the Humsafar Trust told PTI that the change has come after 18 years of suffering and what the community has gone through in these 18 years could not be expressed in words. "Tomorrow when we wake up we would be able to look in the mirror and not see ourselves as a second class citizen or a criminal," he said. "This is an opportunity to fight further for equality," he added.

Sep 6, 2018 5:19 pm (IST)

Actor Swara Bhaskar welcomed the judgement and congratulated all activists for their perseverance. Bhaskar tweeted, "Congratulations to all the activists and petitioners on #SupremeCourt judgement scrapping #Section377 Your perseverance just made #India a freer place for everyone ! #LoveIsLove #Pride #377Verdict #377Scrapped Three cheers for the #SupremeCourt"

Sep 6, 2018 5:07 pm (IST)

Congress welcomes the verdict | "We join the people of India & the LGBTQIA+ community in their victory over prejudice. We welcome the progressive & decisive verdict from the Supreme Court & hope this is the beginning of a more equal & inclusive society. #Section377," a tweet from the Congress' official handle said. 

Sep 6, 2018 4:57 pm (IST)

‘A New Dawn’ | One of the petitioners in the Supreme Court on the Section 377 issue told PTI that the apex court verdict is a new dawn for the LGBT community which would no more feel like criminals and second class citizens. Calling the change "historic", Ankit Gupta, an LGBT activist with the Humsafar Trust said the fight for equality continues and there is still a long way to go for it.

Sep 6, 2018 4:48 pm (IST)

UN Hails Verdict | United Nations India on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court verdict. In a statement, UN India said it welcomed the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of India striking down a key component of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalized specific sexual acts between adults, a law dating back to British colonial rule that has targeted in particular lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and communities. The statement added that sexual orientation and gender expression form an integral part of an individual’s identity the world over, and violence, stigma and discrimination based on these attributes constitute an egregious violation of human rights. “LGBTI persons across the world continue to be the targets of violent attacks and are affected by multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination based on age, gender, ethnicity, disability and social status,” the statement further read.

Sep 6, 2018 4:41 pm (IST)

Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi called the verdict an important decision. “I'm happy as Court has realised the right of LGBTs, their pain & gave them proper space in the society. Most important thing about this decision is that they will be given equal rights like others,” Rohatgi was quoted as saying by ANI agency.

Sep 6, 2018 4:32 pm (IST)

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor shared his quote on Twitter which read, "In a democracy, people should be free to be who they are. We should not be judging them, harassing them and giving the police an excuse to arrest them."  

Sep 6, 2018 4:22 pm (IST)

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala hailed the apex court's verdict and called it "momentous". In a tweet, the Congress leader said, "Supreme Court verdict on #Section377 is momentous. An age-old colonial law, that was an anachronism in today’s modern times, ends restoring the fundamental rights & negating discrimination based on sexual orientation. It’s an imp step forward towards a liberal, tolerant society.”

Sep 6, 2018 4:16 pm (IST)

Members of the LGBTQ community took out pride marches across the country celebrating the historic judgment. 

Sep 6, 2018 4:12 pm (IST)

RSS says homosexuality not a crime, but same-sex marriages unnatural | Homosexuality is not a crime, the RSS said on Thursday, while maintaining that it does not support same-sex marriage as it was "not natural". 'Prachar pramukh' Arun Kumar said in a statement, "Like the Supreme Court's verdict, we also do not consider this (homosexuality) as a crime". He, however maintained the Sangh's old stand and said gay marriage and such relationships were not "compatible with nature". "These relationships are not natural, so we do not support this kind of relationship."

Sep 6, 2018 3:21 pm (IST)

Hours after the Supreme Court decriminalised gay sex, right-wing RSS has said that it does not believe homosexuality is a crime. However, Sangh functionary Arun Kumar said, "The marriages between same sex partners are against nature."

Sep 6, 2018 3:05 pm (IST)

ALSO READ | Happy Feet! Delhi Hotel Staff Dance Up a Storm After SC Verdict on Section 377 | Watch

LGBT rights activist Keshav Suri owned The Lalit hotel breaks out in celebration after SC scraps Section 377.

Sep 6, 2018 2:55 pm (IST)

The Supreme Court's landmark judgement on scrapping Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code has sent a wave of happiness and joy all over the country. The Lalit Hotel, New Delhi, also contributed to the joyous occasion. Keshav Suri, the executive director of the Lalit Group of hotels, is a prominent LGBT activist. In the video, the hotel's staff can be seen draping rainbow coloured scarves around their necks and waists and performing a flash mob in the hotel.

Sep 6, 2018 2:53 pm (IST)
Sep 6, 2018 2:31 pm (IST)
Sep 6, 2018 2:26 pm (IST)

Ayesha Kapur: Kapur was among the early entrants into India’s booming e-commerce market. The business honcho has spoken about being scared of revealing her sexual orientation and overcoming that fear.

Sep 6, 2018 2:26 pm (IST)

Ayesha Kapur: Kapur was among the early entrants into India’s booming e-commerce market. The business honcho has spoken about being scared of revealing her sexual orientation and overcoming that fear.

Sep 6, 2018 2:25 pm (IST)

Keshav Suri: “If not now, then when?” is the mantra for hotelier Keshav Suri, scion of the late hotel magnate Lalit Suri and Executive Director of the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group that owns the Lalit chain of hotels. Suri is openly gay and filed a fresh writ petition with the Supreme Court this year in favour of decriminalising Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. “I am a proud member of the LGBTQ community in India and I have no qualms in admitting that I have been in a committed relationship with an adult male for a decade. Though my personal life is not up for discussion, I felt it was important to highlight the fact,” Said Suri, who recently got married to his partner in Paris.

Sep 6, 2018 2:25 pm (IST)

Aman Nath: The 67-year-old Hotelier is known in the industry for co-owning Neemrana Hotels with his partner Francis Wacziarg. The two turned their passion for heritage sites into their work and preserved these old buildings as hotels. In 2014, after being in a long-term relationship for 23 years, Nath lost his partner Wacziarg.

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Section 377 Verdict LIVE Updates: India Decriminalises Gay Sex, SC Says Can't Punish Consenting Adults
People react after the Supreme Court verdict which decriminalises consensual gay sex, outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, Thursday. (PTI Photo)

Section 377 refers to 'unnatural offences' and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine. The apex court, however, said other aspects of Section 377 of IPC dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children shall remain in force.

The historic judgement came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs. They had sought decriminalisation of consensual sex between two consenting adults of the same sex by declaring Section 377 illegal and unconstitutional.
The issue was first raised by the NGO, Naaz Foundation, which approached the Delhi High Court in 2001. The Delhi High Curt had in 2009 decriminalised sex between consenting adults of the same gender by holding the penal provision as "illegal".

This high court judgement was overturned in 2013 by the apex court which also dismissed the review plea against which the curative petitions were filed which are pending. The writ petitions were opposed by Apostolic Alliance of Churches and Utkal Christian Association and some other NGOs and individuals, including Suresh Kumar Kaushal.
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