Scenes of joy as India finally decriminalises gay sex

India's top court to rule on decriminalizing gay sex

India's top court decriminalizes homosexual acts

"Respect for individual choice is the essence of liberty", Dipak Misra, India's chief justice, told a packed courtroom. Until now, it was punishable with up to 10 years in prison, although few people were jailed. "The law must take affirmative steps to achieve equal protection of law to all its citizens, irrespective of sexual orientation". "We want the relationship to be protected under Fundamental Rights and to not suffer moral policing", he said.

India's government, a broadly right-wing, Hindu nationalist coalition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, has indicated it will support the Supreme Court in its ruling, but will oppose any attempts by activists to push for further rights. After the ruling, opponents of the law danced and waved flags outside the court.

This issue came to light when the minority LGBT community filed a plea asking for the dissolution of section 377 against homosexuality.

"So pleased to learn that the Supreme Court has ruled against criminalising sexual acts in private. No one has the right to question how do two adults perform the sexual intercourse and whether this intercourse is natural or unnatural", the court had said.

There were cheers, tears and hugs as a wave of joy swept through the LGBT (lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender) community in the country on hearing that Section 377 had been scrapped.

Section 377 has always been the reason to cause a stir in the society.

The Indian Supreme court has decided - after an 18-year long legal battle - that discrimination as a result of someone's sexual orientation is a violation of rights. The contentions of the 2013 judgment were "constitutionally impermissible" and "fallacious", he said, because "the framers of our constitution could have never intended that the fundamental rights shall be extended for the benefit of the majority only".

On Facebook, I have seen many mix respond from people, many were happy with progress of new India and some were still sharing their rejection over Supreme court decision.

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He wrote in his judgment about another breakthrough for LGBTQ rights that came from the Supreme Court of Nepal, in Sunil Babu Pant versus Nepal Government.

On the other hand, Lucky Neog, a budding filmmaker and activist attributed the verdict to the hard work of activists.

This means that while Section 377 will continue to be part of Indian penal law, it can no longer be used to criminalize consensual sex between people of the same gender.

"LGBTI communities in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also working to repeal similar remnants of British colonisation in their own country and the ruling from India will feed into more dialogues, at least among LGBTI civil society across these countries", she added. "The focus must now be on ensuring access to justice, including remedy; effective investigations of acts of violence and discrimination; and effective access to economic, social and cultural rights".

The verdict by the five-judge bench was unanimous. "Decriminalisation is but the first step; the constitution envisages much more".

Justice Indu Malhotra said that history in her opinion owes the LGBT community an apology for discrimination and ostracism, while Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said he believes that the LGBT community is entitled to equal citizenship and equal rights under the Constitution, India Today reported. They are mothers and uncles and sisters and grandchildren, who know as well as we do that there is no substitute for equality.

In 2009, Delhi's High Court struck down the law.

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