Gay activists shocked with SC verdict, calls it ‘black day’

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 16:47

New Delhi: Gay rights activists were today up in arms against the Supreme Court verdict that upheld a law criminalising homosexuality, calling it a "black day` for the LGBT community and vowed to carry on the fight to restore their rights including seeking its review.

As members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community expressed shock and disappointment at the verdict, Additional Solicitor General of Indira Jaisingh threw her weight behind them, saying the court position is an imposition of "medieval mindset" on the people of the country.

She questioned its "double standards" of the apex court in dealing with human rights issues after it quashed a 2009 Delhi High Court verdict and made gay sex illegal and a punishable offence again under Section 377 IPC.

She raised question as to why the court put the ball in the court of legislature to decide on the issue when so many other matters and policies are being reviewed by it.

"Historical opportunity to expand constitutional values has been lost," Jaising said, adding, "It is surprising that the court, which does judicial review on many issues, has put the ball in the court of Parliament to decide on homosexuality."

"What surprises me is the double standards here. When it is a question of human rights, why send it to the Parliament when the Supreme Court is itself the observer of the human rights," she commented after the verdict.

Anjali Gopalan, founder of a NGO Naz Foundation that was the first to file the petition for decriminalising section 377, said she was "shocked" by the ruling.

"This is taking many, many steps back. The Supreme Court has not just let down the LGBT. Community but the Constitution of India."

"The verdict was totally unexpected from the top court. It is a black day for the community," Arvind Narayan, a lawyer of the Alternative Law Forum gay rights group, told reporters.

Gay rights activists who were inside the courtroom were visibly upset while some outside broke down and hugged each other in consolation.

Advocate Anand Grover, who had argued the case, said Naz Foundation would file a petition for a review of the top court`s decision.

Government on its part said it will have to abide by the verdict. "We have to abide by the decision," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.
"The opinion of the Supreme Court has to be respected by the government," Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal said.
The judgement was, however, welcomed by Amod Kanth, General Secretary of Prayas, who was one of the petitioners against the Delhi High Court verdict.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 16:47

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