‘We are free’: India celebrates Section 377 verdict

Section 377 verdict by Supreme Court today: 5 key things to know

India's supreme court has struck down a colonial-era law that effectively banned homosexual sex in a landmark ruling for gay rights in the country.

"Consensual sex has been targeted under Section 377 resulting in discrimination".

In July this year, the court heard a series of petitions asking it to review a previous ruling that upheld the 1861 British colonial era law, under which "unnatural sex" is a criminal act punishable by 10-year prison term and a fine.

The court had observed that an environment has been created in the Indian society over the years that has led to deep-rooted discrimination against the community which has also adversely impacted their mental health.

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In hearings in July, lawyers argued that the law was a harmful anachronism and legally inconsistent with other recent court rulings, including one made past year that guaranteed the constitutional right to privacy.

This high court judgment was overturned in 2013 by the Supreme Court (Suresh Kumar Koushal vs Naz Foundation case) which also dismissed the review plea against which the curative petitions were filed which are pending. "Is it the most significant LGBT judicial ruling in history?"

"The right to live with dignity has been recognised".

In 2016, 2,187 cases were registered under Section 377 under the category of "unnatural offences". Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that that the LGBT community possesses rights like every other person, and that constitutional rights can not be dictated by majoritarian views and popular morality. On Twitter, several Bollywood celebrities applauded Supreme Court's decision. "Expression of intimacy is part of right to privacy". LGBTQ community is no different they possess same rights as others.

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This covered the bouts of depression, the abuse, the persecution, the blackmail and the coming-out journeys they had made while living under a shadow that made their most intimate behavior illegal.

As legal experts pointed out, changing this colonial law was nearly a foregone conclusion after a nine-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court ruled in August 2017 that privacy is a fundamental right. Respect for each others rights, and others are supreme humanity.

But in 2013, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court set aside the 2009 Delhi HC judgment.

"Private acts between consenting adults is something which no government should have criminalized as unfortunately we have done", he said.

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Another college student from Ambedkar University, Ambuj, who had already told his parents about his sexual orientation said, "Teenagers will now not be afraid to come out if they are gay because of the legal backing".

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