Love! Joy! Cheers!
These were some of the many happy reactions people expressed when the apex court amended the archaic IPC Section 377 of the Colonial era. The provision was put into Indian Penal Code in 1862 and since then it has criminalized the lives of many. The sexual identities of some people were seen as a crime against nature because of this section of the law.
Now, finally, the shackles of this unbounded chain of sexual repression have been freed and with it the lives of 100 million Indian people will change for the better. The LGBTQ community may be a minor one but it has been very vocal in demanding its rights, making these amendments possible. This is India ushering into a new era of rights and modernity.
The Supreme Court’s judgement has not only decriminalized same sex relations; it was much more than that. If we look at the decision, we can see many important wins, not only from a moral paradigm but a Constitutional one as well.
1. It enhanced equality of citizens and upheld Article 14 to its core.
2. It gave an assurance of dignity to this community, the dignity which was conspicuous by the law’s unfairness.
3. Right to Privacy has been enhanced. State has withdrawn its role in commanding sexual lives of people.
4. Celebration of sexual orientation and recognition of identity.
5. Repealing of 19th century Colonial-era practices which were only used for the subjugation of masses.
6. Enhancing the rights-based approach, living by giving full recognition to the right to preserve one’s sexual identity.
This way, the Chief Justice of India-led bench has broken the myth of India being primitive, and gave the country the much needed liberation from ancient mindsets. Now, India should also act on devising family and inheritance laws to accommodate this community; without this, it will be a half battle won.