NEW DELHI: LGBT activists, members of the community and their supporters in political circles were elated after the Supreme Court on Monday decided to review Section 377, which criminalises unnatural sex.Noted transgender rights activist Anindya Hajra said the apex court’s decision was a welcome step.
“The fact that it will be reviewed and now we also have the Right to Privacy judgment as a precedent, it can only be seen as a hopeful move which needs to relook at the core issues of dignity and equality,” he said.
Yashwinder Singh, programme manager, Humsafar Trust said, “It is indeed a welcome move. The law was an attempt by the British to immobilize liberal Indians during their rule. Even they have done away with it in their country. I see no reason why the law should exist in India.”
Noted LGBT activist Akkai said the community still had faith in the judiciary and called for everyone to support her cause.
“We still have hope from the judiciary. All politicians and political parties must break their silence and support an individual’s sexuality,” she said.
Senior Bombay HC lawyer and activist Abha Singh said the decision is a sign that the SC has realised that Section 377 is regressive and violates human dignity.
“It will protect them from police harassment and extortion,” she said.Political parties were also seen echoing the activists’ views with Congress leaders Manish Tewari, Sanjay Jha, Shehzad Poonawalla welcoming the SC’s order.
“Everybody has an equal right to live life the way they want,” All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev said.
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said her party hoped that the SC would reverse its previous ‘unfortunate’ judgment.
“In a democracy, police and the state have no business interfering in personal choice of individuals,” she said.
However, BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha Subramanian Swamy had a different take on the issue.
“As long as they don’t celebrate it, don’t flaunt it, don’t create gay bars to select partners it’s not a problem. In their privacy what they do, nobody can invade. But if you flaunt it, it has to be punished and therefore Section 377 needs to remain,” he said.