Polity and Governance

LGBTQIA+ Rights in India

September 6, 2018, is a date characterized by emancipation in the history of the LGBTQIA+ community in India. The Supreme Court in a landmark judgement struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and decriminalised homosexuality. Section 377 was introduced by the British Indian government in the year 1861, modelled on the Buggery Act of 1533. The verdict was welcomed wholeheartedly by the LGBTQIA+ community, the Indian youth and most sections of the population, but the queer community feels that their fate still rests on a question mark. Without a doubt, though, India has come a long way when it comes to acceptance of queers. What was Section 377? The Section 377 dealt with “unnatural offences”, and stated that- “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 ten years and shall also be liable to fine.”
LGBTQIA+ Rights in India
Background The AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan filed the first petition in the Delhi High Court against Section 377 in the year 1994, followed by the Naz Foundation in 2001. The plea to allow homosexual relations among consenting adults was rejected by the Court. In 2014 the Naz Foundation filed a review petition, claiming “rights to sexuality, sexual autonomy, choice of sexual partner, life, privacy, dignity and equality, along with the other fundamental rights guaranteed under Part-III of Constitution, are violated by Section 377”. The Supreme Court reconsidered petitions filed a by a group of well-known LGBTQIA+ rights activists such as S Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur. On 2nd February 2016, the final hearing of the petition submitted by the Naz Foundation and others was heard in the Supreme Court. The three-member bench headed by former Chief Justice of India T. S. Thakur ruled that all petitions that had been submitted were to be reviewed again by a five-member constitutional bench. Shashi Tharoor introduced Private Member Bill in Lok Sabha to decriminalise homosexuality in 2015 and 2016 but the majority voted against the bill. The Supreme Court Verdict 5 LGBTQIA+ activists moved the SC over Section 377 in 2016. The Supreme Court began hearing on Section 377 on 10th July 2018. A five-judge Constitutional bench which was led by the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, plus comprising Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra, and D.Y Chandrachud, began hearing petitions which challenged the Section 377 until the day of the historic judgement. Other demands of the LGBTQIA+ community As the LGBTQIA+ community thank the Supreme Court for painting the Constitution rainbow, it also keeps pressing for legislative or judicial enforcement of LGBTQIA+ rights in the country, namely, the freedom to legally marry within the community and live without the fear of being harassed. The community also rallies for the rights of transgenders in India. At the same time, the Indian LGBTQIA+ community also champions for the rights of fellow queers in countries like China, Brazil and USA where there have been blatant abuse of human rights of the LGBTQIA+ people who are being forced to undergo conversion therapy, being thrown into concentration camps and being targeted in various hate crimes.
Source: https://i-d-images.vice.com/images/articles/meta/2016/12/21/2016-was-the-year-that-the-lgbtqia-community-suffered-and-united-1482325915.jpg?crop=1xw:0.84375xh;center,top&resize=1200:*&output-format=image/jpeg&output-quality=75

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