Members of India’s gay community, along with LGBT activists around the world were shocked and disheartened at the Indian Supreme Court’s reinstatement of banning sexual intercourse between the members of the same sex in 2013.
In 2013, when this reinstatement was passed, except the LGBT community, other people had rave reviews.
“Many consensual relationships of this unnatural nature have existed in India for decades, but that does not justify giving them legal or constitutional sanctity,” Zafaryab Jilani, a Muslim community leader who also filed for the reversal, added. “We are living in India, this is not America, and according to the morals of our society, this is a correct judgment.”
However, with the recent repealing of the same issue, India this time around might finally remove the 157 year old law that criminalizes gay sex.
On July 10th, Tuesday, a huge group of petitioners congregated at the New Delhi Supreme Court, to support and stand against one of the world’s largest and longest running LGBT legal battles.
The law section, known as Section 377, was introduced under the British rule in 1861 which states that all sexual activity apart from heterosexual intercourse is “against the order of nature”.
If the Supreme Court of India were to strike down the law, it would transform gay rights in a country populated with more than 1 billion people.
Activists in India have fought a prolonged battle against the Section 377, which was struck down by the Delhi High Court in 2009, only to be restored by the Supreme Court four years down the line.
In the midst of all the extrapolations and conjectures, there was some groundwork done in order to overturn the ruling.
In 2014, the court extended legal rights and protections towards transgender people.
Similarly, in 2017, the court stated that privacy was everybody’s fundamental right and violating that would be completely unjust and unwise.
Now, in response to this ruling, it gave rise to the entailment of repealing Section 377, leading to a Supreme Court panel issuing the rare order for the court’s 2013 decision regarding the section to be reconsidered.
There are a huge pool of petitioners representing the broad gamut of society and queer experience.
They include some HIV activists, students and some who have gone through the torturous experiences in response to his sexual orientation.
This time, a notable proportion of the petitioners against Section 377 are men. Many say that this is the result of social stigma prevailing in the Indian society.
However, according to a former Indian attorney, it is the men who get penalized far more than often.
According to activists, there remains a slight hope of liberation this time, as Section 377 no longer limits to allies or members of the community standing in as proxies who are too crucified and scared to come out and accept the reality.
Today, since more people are seen to be more accepting and less apprehensive of who they really are, the case this time around might come in the favor of the LGBT community.
Hearings for the Section 377 petition will come about over the coming weeks.