Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community celebrate the Supreme Court decision to strike down a colonial-era ban on gay sex, in Mumbai on September 6, 2018.
Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India said, "Take me as I am" while reading the verdict. The Centre, which had initially sought an adjournment for filing its response to the petitions, later left to the wisdom of the apex court the issue of criminalising consensual same-sex between two adults in India.
In its 493-page judgment, the bench said aspects of section 377 dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children remain in force.
"Like the Supreme Court's verdict, we also do not consider this (homosexuality) as a crime", Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) "prachar pramukh" Arun Kumar said in a statement. 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.
"LGBT Community has same rights as of any ordinary citizen". The Supreme Court's 2017 ruling making right to privacy a fundamental right in India lent a lot of support to the case against Section 377.
"The important point is not only about Section 377 but how you treat other minorities and whether you want to turn the country into a Hindu nation or whether you can use fundamental religious practices to discriminate against people", he said.
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In her judgment, Justice Malhotra said, "It is declared that insofar as Section 377 criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults (i.e. persons above the age of 18 years who are competent to consent) in private, is violative of Articles 14,15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution".
Scrapped by the Delhi High Court in 2009, the law was reinstated four years later in response to challenges from conservative Hindu, Muslim and Christian groups. "Any violation is against freedom of speech and expression", the court said. So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights!
Lawyer Anand Grover, who was representing Naz Foundation against Section 377, talks to the media after the Supreme Court verdict. "On July 12, Justice Indu Malhotra said, "(Homosexuality) is not an aberration, but a variation.Because of family pressures and societal pressures, they are forced to marry the opposite sex and it leads to bi-sexuality and other mental trauma".
While concluding the historic 493-page verdict, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who headed the constitution bench, said it was time to move from "darkness to light" to herald a New India which would be a more inclusive society.
He said that out of the many layers of the judgment, the most significant part was where "we try and give individual dignity, the autonomy, the choice and liberty of an individual, some substantive content".