12:25 p.m., September 6, 2018…a notification popped up in my phone, “Supreme Court decriminalizes Section 377” and I was numb for the next 10 seconds…Finally, the LGBT community got justice.
WHAT IS SECTION 377?
Section 377 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) is an obsolete law, presented by the Britishers amid 1860, which criminalizes certain sexual acts depicting them as “unnatural offenses”. This includes sexual acts between consenting adults (both homosexual and heterosexuals), even inside their rooms.
Homosexuals are the people who are sexually attracted to the people of the same gender. Eg. Gay, lesbian.
Heterosexuals are the people who are sexually attracted to the people of the opposite sex. Eg. Straight.
This law created much dispute or controversies and media coverage after a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) was registered by Naz foundation against this section in Delhi High Court. Naz Foundation trust is NGO that works on HIV/ AIDS and sexual wellbeing. Public Interest Litigation means, Litigation filed in a court for the protection of “Public Interest”, such as child marriage, freedom, etc.
The Court, in a point of landmark judgment, reversed the 150-year- old segment in 2009. In 2009, the Delhi High Court read down segment 377 to apply just to non-consensual, penile, non-vaginal sex, and sexual acts by adults with minors. Nonetheless, the achievement was temporary.
In December 2013, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, on requests filed by private groups, overturned the judgment. It supported the criminalization of gay sex while basically denying the LGBTQ people group the right to sexuality, sexual orientation and decision to choose a partner.
In 2014, the LGBTQ people got to hope when the Supreme Court ordered the government to pronounce transgender a “third gender” and incorporate them in the OBC quota.
The case, by and by became visible in July 2018, when a Constitution bench of five judges, driven by chief justice Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar, RF Nariman, Indu Malhotra, and DY Chandrachud re-opened the whole issue, saying a segment of individuals couldn’t live in fear of the law which withered their rights to decision, security, and pride.
MISCONCEPTIONS RELATED TO SECTION 377
Section 377 has been translated by the courts to cover anal sex, oral sex, and infiltration of different openings, in different cases.
All sex other than hetero penile-vaginal is criminally penalizable.
Consent is no barrier to an offense user Segment 377.
The area makes no difference with respect to age.
Contrary to the regular conviction, this segment does not criminalize gay conduct or tendencies essentially. Rather, it criminalizes certain sexual activities (as referred above) regardless of the sexual inclination of the guilty party included.
However, it was noted by Delhi High Court in its judgment, that this segment, in its task, unjustifiably focuses on the gay network and portrays them as offenders.
The court likewise noticed that the origin of Segment 377 is constructed on the ideology of the Victorian period drawing on ideas of sensuality and moral corruption.
Section 377 IPC is a non-bailable offense.
Article 377 of the IPC criminalizes “sexual acts against the law of nature” which incorporates everything other than penile-vaginal intercourse. This is clearly an ancient law which needs a change. The Supreme Court recently re-opened the discussion on section 377 expressing that “Societal morality changes with time”.
THE FINAL VERDICT ON ARTICLE 377
“Homosexuality is not a mental problem and the parliament is also alive to the fact.”
“LGBT community has the same rights as other members of the society.”
“Any kind of sexual activity with animals shall remain penal offense under section 377 of the IPC.”
“Punishment under Section 377 made the LGBT a closed community, destroyed the identity of members and reached their dignity, all part of the right to life.”
“Court must try to protect the dignity of every individual of the society including people from LGBT. Sexual orientation is natural and people have no control over it.”
“Social morality cannot violate the rights of even one single individual.”
“SC says consensual sex between adults in private space, which is not harmful to women or children, cannot be denied as it is a matter of individual choice.”
“Human tendency to love among LGBT community members had been caged by a 158-year-old law, Sec 377. Though 87 years after the law was born India got independence, Legislature did not take measures to give LGBT community the equal rights for sexual relation.”
SHOULD SECTION 377 BE REMOVED?
In a blog that I read, it stated “Don’t terminate the article. Make it more contemporary. Consenting sex of any frame between two adults ought not to be illegal. On the off chance that I am right, all it would take is to insert a word in the law.”
It doesn’t make a difference whether you expel 377 or not. Truly, it doesn’t. You can yell as loud as possible that it will ‘give’ legitimate rights and so forth.. ‘Rape laws’ did not stop rapes and they probably won’t stop rapists. Dowry is still on. Sexual abuse is not uncommon. What will expulsion of 377 do to improve the situation??
Citing one of my lesbian friends, “I’m pleased with what I’m. Keeping other things aside, now the entire Indian constitution bolsters people like me. Talk about female empowerment! Did you think section 377 was compelling us to live inside the closet? No, we are not frightened of anybody. Neither the police nor the general public. We don’t need any kind of lectures, speeches or be it anything from anyone that it isn’t natural. We know it is.
A large portion of you straight people might not have any idea but we carry on to live an absolutely normal life among you. Without getting terrified of 377. Some of the time you may spot us when you ridicule us or crack jokes on us. We understand you intend no damage and ‘forgive’ you for your tasteless remarks. Hell, we even have to join you in your joke in order to not appear ‘different’. You can’t even imagine what kind of pressure we have to go through our everyday life. Taunts, jokes, negative remarks, gloomy comments, dominated and what not!! You see where I am getting at?”
This point to the fact that the issue isn’t 377, it is the general public- the Indian mentality. We can live with 377. Truly, it doesn’t affect our lives. In any case, you do.
You have to be responsive to the fact that gay and lesbians and bisexual individuals are everywhere. It could be your companion, your neighbor, your partner, your sibling or your sister. Indeed, even your husband or your wife can be gay/lesbian/bisexual. Don’t be so surprised. There are known politicians, craftsmen and performing artists, top industrialists and numerous other individuals who are bisexual and they care least about it.
People of the ‘alternate sexuality’ trust in each other. Yet, realize that society is the reason they can’t open up. Not 377.
Discussion over 377 is good. It’s good for your common administration exam and for debate competitions. In any case, we don’t do pride march for 377. We need to change our point of view towards it. Try not to abolish 377 to make your nation look ‘cooler’. Or to appear liberal. Abolish it since you really believe in it.
Do you ever care to come in support of us with our public marches as you did you for stricter rape laws? You can care but you can’t join in. Not because you are scared of 377 but rather on the grounds that you are frightened of yourself. You are frightened of society. Indeed, even the government does not care about 377.
It knows individuals will go ahead with what they need in their private lives. Hell, did you consider 377 when you agreed for anal or oral sex with your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife? I don’t think so. That is how we care when we engage in ‘unnatural sex’.
Bringing in the light the religious aspect of this debate- no government or religion can censure a man based on their decisions. Can you control the manner in which you were born? Can you get the features and body of your favorite celebrity? NO. Then how can you define who a person is attracted to? Other than for what reason does it matter?
On the off chance that 2 individuals love each other, they ought to have the right to be together regardless of the sex or caste or different parameters that society considers into account before marriage. After all, you can never acknowledge even the best of things if you are compelled to take them.
This is the initial step towards a long journey that should lead to the evacuation of the law completely. It is interesting to note the SC admits that societal morality changes with time and the law needs to change as well.
One of the biggest good that would come out of nullifying section 377 would give another push to the Right to freedom.
After the recent right to privacy and Triple Talaq Abolition judgment by the SC, this is the third such example which demonstrates the enthusiasm of the SC to resolve to change of laws with time. These are the baby steps of a nation moving towards a time where everybody is viewed as equivalent, be it sex, race, religion, and so on.
Expelling archaic elements from the society would be an extremely repetitive undertaking as you are attempting to change convictions of individuals that have been passed on to them for ages.
It’s a very slow process that may take a long time to accomplish the aspired outcomes
There will be opposition to this, and I believe the restriction is healthy in the event that it is debated and dealt with in a peaceful manner (which will be again a long process,).
Be that as it may, India will, in the end, reach there, a secular and free nation where individuals’ work comes prior to their religious/sexual identity.
THE GENUINE PROBLEM
Imagine a scenario in which homosexuality is decriminalized really. Will it make a simple life for the people of that community/ background? The main problem lies within ourselves. It won’t mean anything if the society that hates homosexuality doesn’t accept these individuals. In a country where homosexuality is thought of as a psychological disorder, will a piece of paper ease their lives?
• Do you make fun of a male friend, who has feminine behavior?
• Do you still characterize some behavior or etiquette as masculine and feminine? Can Boys Cry?
• Will you have the capacity to acknowledge if your sibling/child or sister/girl reveals to you that he/she is gay?
The day the society will acknowledge homosexuality as sexuality, the supreme court justices will end up superfluous.
Do you truly think that individuals from the LGBT community “choose” that way of life for sex and desire? And what if you come to know that they don’t find true love in their partners? If you do, then I am sorry to say, but your fundamental understanding of “love” is truly flawed.
Do you solicit what number of from us who are against 377 will support and empower homosexuality among our own particular kids? All things considered, homosexuality isn’t something you can encourage in a person. It’s exactly how a person is made up. A few people are sexually attracted to others of alternate sex, some to others of their own sex.
It isn’t so much that we can motivate our kids to like somebody or not – that would be compelling them. What’s more, I might want to see my kid happy instead of following the norms and living a sad and stressful life – as long as I know they are not hurting themselves or others.
By having this section in place, you are denying a part of the society their fundamental right to be happy and live with someone they love – which is wrong, very wrong!
Finally, we have managed to convince our government to give us the right to love a person in whatever way irrespective of the gender.
Maybe now we can finally work upon the freedom to choose our life partners. Because for some people choosing a life partner is more than about sex.
At the end of the day, “Kuch to log kahenge, Logo ka kaam hai kehna”
But love is too beautiful to be hidden in the closet.
SOME INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES BY FAMOUS CELEBRITIES ON LGBT
“You don’t have to be a gay to be a supporter You just have to be a human”
“I think the best day will be when we no longer talk about being gay or straight …