One of the fundamental tenets of the Indian constitution is the principle of equality. Without getting into the legal nitty-gritties, one can safely argue that equal does not mean uniform; but often means special. India has a number of such sections that require legal recognition and state protection, because they have been subjected to injustice and discrimination for too long.
The recent acceptance of the Curative Petition by the Supreme Court is indeed a step in the right direction for safeguarding one of our own – they may be your neighbour, your acquaintance or even a person inside you, waiting to declare your sexuality to the open world.
As I watched the TV screens with great anxiety and nervousness, while hoping that a ‘good word comes out of it’, my eyes lit up as I saw the news bar trickle with one-liners that the Petition was accepted. What does this mean for us and our country?
Firstly, it reinstates the belief of the people in the judiciary – the simple faith that even if our policy makers fail us, our courts, the supreme guardian of the Constitution, shall forever remain our brightest ray of hope even in the of darkest times. Secondly, the fundamental ideas of privacy (in the bedroom, behind closed doors) with a partner of your choice is non-negotiable and is a fundamental human right we’ve been endowed with, and its protection deserves serious thought. Thirdly, in the atmosphere of bickering and brow-beating over “tolerance” and ‘intolerance”, it is vital that we pause and ask ourselves how ‘tolerant’ we are, if we cannot even grant the basic freedom and liberties to our people simply because we believe they simply aren’t worth it!
We are hailing the anniversary of our Constitution-maker Dr. Ambedkar as ‘Constitution Day’. It is imperative that we take a step towards securing equality and justice for all (by restoring the highest ideals of ‘constitutional morality’), rather than one based on yours, mine and the general public perception of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’! By acknowledging the unconstitutionality of Section 377, IPC, we can go on to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Indians who have been made to undergo all kinds of physical, emotional and mental violence, for no fault of theirs. This can provide further impetus to forge a more inclusive and tolerant society!
For, when the law is on your side, it makes the battle easier!