Same gender sex not a crime, rules India court

Same gender sex not a crime, rules India court

New Delhi - The Centre had said that the other aspects of the penal provision should be allowed to remain in the statute book.


Published: Thu 6 Sep 2018, 11:52 AM

Last updated: Fri 7 Sep 2018, 2:08 AM

India’s Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a British-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a landmark victory for gay rights.
“Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, reading the verdict. “Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual.”
As the news spread, the streets outside the courthouse erupted in cheers as opponents of the law danced and waved flags.
In its ruling, the court said sexual orientation was a “biological phenomenon” and that discrimination on that basis violated fundamental rights.
“We cannot change history but can pave a way for a better future,” said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
The law known as Section 377 held that sexual acts between members of the same sex was against the order of nature. The five petitioners who challenged the law said it was discriminatory and led to gays living in fear of harassment and persecution.
The court’s ruling struck down the law’s sections on consensual gay sex, but let stand segments that deal with such issues as bestiality. On Thursday, a leader of a prominent hard-line Hindu group noted that while it doesn’t see homosexuality as a crime, it believes gay marriage is not “compatible with nature.”
Arun Kumar, a spokesman for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said Indian society “traditionally does not recognise” gay relationships.

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