SC decriminalises consensual gay sex; LGBTQ community rejoices after verdict

"Any consensual sexual relationship between consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - cannot be said to be unconstitutional," said the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, as he read out the judgement.

SC decriminalises consensual gay sex; LGBTQ community rejoices after verdict

In a historic judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised consensual gay sex between two adults thus bringing down the more than a century-old law of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. However, sexual activities with animals and children, which is a part of the section, will remain a crime. Any kind of sexual activity with animals is punishable.

The judgment was delivered by a five-member bench -- Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. 

"Any consensual sexual relationship between consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - cannot be said to be unconstitutional," said the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, as he read out the judgement.

In a judgement in support of the LGBTQ people, CJI Misra reading on behalf of himself and Justice Khanvilkar said, "LGBT community has the same rights like other members of society. The sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of Freedom of Expression. The primary objective of having a Constitutional society is to transform the society progressively; Constitutional provisions should not be interpreted in literal sense. The provision of IPC had resulted in collateral effect in that consensual sex between LGBT person is criminalised and is violative of Article 14."

Justice Rohinton Nariman said in his concurring judgment, "Homosexuality is not a mental problem and the Parliament is also alive to the fact. An individual has sovereignty over his or her own body.

Reading out his judgement, Justice Chandrachud said, "Section 377 of the IPC has travelled so much that it has been destructive of their (LGBTQ) identity. The section divides the LGBTQ community from their liberty and dignity."

Justice Indu Malhotra said, "Members of LGBT community members and their family members owe an apology from society for being denied equal rights over the years,  The society owes an apology to the LGBTQ community for the years of stigma imposed on them."

After months of the fight, the LGBTQ community on Thursday won their freedom for consensual sex. Reacting to the verdict people from the community said, "We have finally got justice. We are finally 'azaad in azaad Hind'," Ashok Row Kavi, LGBT rights activist and founder of Humsafar Trust, told news agency ANI.

There were tears of joy galore as people took to the streets in many cities to usher in what they said was a breath of fresh life. From Delhi and Mumbai to Chennai and Kolkata, scenes of jubilation were witnessed with people saying no police interference in their private lives is indeed a matter of great significance.

Section 377 refers to 'unnatural offences' and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

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