India Decriminalizes Homosexuality: Country’s Top Court Throws Out Section 377

India Decriminalizes Homosexuality: Country’s Top Court Throws Out Section 377

However, on this Thursday of September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court has overruled the 2013 verdict in and struck down the draconian law that made gay sex an offence.

"Justice Chandrachud, according to The Hindu, questioned the meaning of the phrase "order of nature" in Section 377 and said: "[The] State can not decide the boundaries between what is permissible or not.

Clauses which deal with unnatural sex with animals and children still remain in force. "Nation after nation has been extending full rights to gay people under the law, and now India, as the world's second-most populous country, stands, at least legally, among the more progressive", the paper wrote. It was on the petition filed by the Naaz Foundation that the Delhi High Court had decriminalised section 377 of the IPC, which was challenged in the apex court by some individuals and religious organisations.

"Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - can not be said to be unconstitutional", said the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, as he read out the judgment.

Justice Chandrachud said, "Why do politicians sometimes hand over power to judges and we see that happening in the Supreme Court everyday". After weeks of deliberation in the Supreme Court and decades of struggles by gay Indians, India's chief justice, Dipak Misra, told a packed courtroom that the colonial-era law known as Section 377 was "Irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary".

But while the justices are rightly being praised for the verdict, the overturning of Section 377 is really the result of years of activism by India's LGBT community.

According to the Financial Times, the five judges involved in the case also unanimously decided that India's LGBT community should have fundamental rights to equality, dignity, self-expression and privacy. They further said that consensual sex between adults is not a crime.




Many cut cakes and unfurled rainbow flags, a symbol of gay pride, to welcome the verdict, which also said society can not dictate a sexual relationship between consenting adults.

This means that while Section 377 will continue to be part of Indian penal law, it can no longer be used to criminalize consensual sex between people of the same gender.

The judgment will be delivered by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

Welcoming the decision, DMK MP Kanimozhi said, "Hope we move towards a more liberal, tolerant and inclusive society".

'So proud today! Decriminalizing homosexuality and abolishing section 377 is a huge thumb up for humanity and equal rights!

With regards to this, Justice Chandrachud, while speaking at an event, had questioned why the union government left sensitive issues such as the validity of Section 377 for the Supreme Court to dwell upon. "These relationships are not natural, so we do not support this kind of relationship".

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