'Letting go of obsolete laws, honouring people’s choices strengthens democracy', Sri Sri, others react on SC verdict on homosexuality

In a historic judgement, Supreme Court of India's five-judge Constitution bench on Thursday had unanimously decriminalised part Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex.

Published: 06th September 2018 05:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2018 05:31 PM   |  A+A-

Calling the Section 377 irrational and arbitrary, the CJI said that the LGBTQ community enjoys same rights as other citizens under the Constitution. In image: A scene from the Delhi Gay Pride. (EPS Shekhar Yadav)

By Online Desk

In a historic judgment, Supreme Court of India's five-judge Constitution bench on Thursday had unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex.

The verdict invoked a varied reaction from the public sphere. Here are some of them:

The Indian National Congress

The Congress Thursday hailed as "momentous" the Supreme Court verdict decriminalising consensual gay sex and termed it as an important step forward towards a liberal and tolerant society.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the age-old colonial law was an anachronism in today's modern times and the verdict restores the fundamental rights and negates discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh

Right-wing organisation RSS has put out a statement saying that it does not believe homosexuality is a criminal offence but it's not natural. The statement says that the Indian society did not accept such relations and this issue (homosexuality) needs a social and psychological solution.

Shashi Tharoor:

The parliamentarian from Thiruvananthapuram constituency, Shashi Tharoor tweeted that the decision vindicates his stand on Section 377 and on exactly the same grounds of privacy, dignity and constitutional freedoms. He goes on to say that the verdict shames those BJP MPs who vociferously opposed him in the Lok Sabha.

LGBTQ community people with a rainbow flag celebrate the Supreme Court
verdict which decriminalises consensual gay sex in Bengaluru. (Photo | PTI)

Sri Sri Ravishankar

The spiritual guru has tweeted that "Letting go of obsolete laws, keeping up with a scientific temper and honouring people’s choices has strengthened our democracy". 

The United Nations

In a statement, the United Nations welcomed the Supreme Court judgment and said it was the first step towards ensuring full fundamental rights to LGBTI persons.

"The UN in India sincerely hopes that the court's ruling will be the first step towards guaranteeing the full range of fundamental rights to LGBTI persons. We also hope that the judgment will boost efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination against LGBTI persons in all areas of social, economic, cultural and political activity, thereby ensuring a truly inclusive society," the statement said.

Filmmaker Karan Johar:

Giving the verdict a 'huge' thumbs up, ace filmmaker Karan Johar said, "Historical judgment!!!! So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights! The country gets its oxygen back!"

On a related note, Menaka Guruswamy, the Supreme Court lawyer and BR Ambedkar Scholar and lecturer of Columbia law school had tweeted before the verdict:

"With the Constitution in our hearts, we go to our Court, to seek to remove a colonial stain on our collective national conscience. Section 377 your time has come. See you in Court on Tuesday."

The verdict:

Calling the Section 377 irrational and arbitrary, CJI Dipak Misra had said that the LGBTQ community enjoys same rights as other citizens under the Constitution.

The apex court also said that the judgment will be considered in all pending prosecutions.

READ FULL REPORT | Section 377 verdict: Supreme Court legalises homosexuality

"Denial of self-expression is like death. Social morality cannot violate the rights of even one single individual. Sexual orientation is natural and people have no control on it," Misra added. 

He also said that Any discrimination on basis of sexual orientation amounts to a violation of fundamental rights.

The apex court, however, said other aspects of Section 377 of IPC dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children shall remain in force.

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