~By Akanksha Sharma
“Section 377 and Slavery they both belong to 1861 and that’s where they should’ve been left”
Accelerating towards an era of change, the country’s Supreme Court adjudged a much awaited decision on Section 377
A 5-bench judge partially scrapped Section 377 of the IPC, which defines Unnatural Offences, giving equal rights to the LGBTQ community.
The provision was introduced in the British Raj in the year 1861 criminalising such sexual activities as “against the order of nature”.
ABVA or AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan was one of the earliest efforts to decriminalise homosexuality and promote the interests of the LGBTQ community.
In the year 2001, Naz Foundation stood up for gay rights as India’s crusader, challenging the section’s constitutionality by filing a petition in the Delhi High Court which was later dismissed by the court.
However, in the year 2009, Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality in its 105-page order declaring it to be violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. This judgement was revised by the Supreme Court in the year 2013 pronouncing that the archaic ‘Section 377’ does not suffer from any constitutional infirmity.
This decision was again challenged in the Supreme Court by five LGBTQ activists in the year 2016.
Today, In a historic verdict delivered by the Supreme Court, Homosexuality has been decriminalised after a century and six decades.
A Progressive and pragmatic view should be taken by court to come to the rescue of the oppressed section of our society. The law must be interpreted as per the requirement of changing times.
As rightly quoted by Justice Chandrachud,
“It is difficult to right a wrong by history. But we can set the course for future. This case involves much more than decriminalising homosexuality. It is about people wanting to live with dignity.”
I will not be written off again.
I am who I am, take me as I am.
Akanksha Sharma is a third year BA.LLB student at UPES, Dehradun.