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SC legalises consensual gay sex

By The Assam Tribune
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NEW DELHI, Sept 6 - Consensual gay sex is not a crime, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, striking down a British era law that it said violates the right to equality and triggering celebrations among LGBTQ activists who welcomed it as a harbinger of a more inclusive India.

Parts of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised consensual unnatural sex, are �irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary�, the apex court said in its historic ruling that made India the 26th country in the world where homosexuality is legal.

�History owes an apology to members of the community for the delay in ensuring their rights,� for denying them their rights and compelling them to live a life of fear, said Justice Indu Malhotra, who was part of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that delivered the judgement, capping a 17-year legal struggle.

In its 493-page judgement, the bench said aspects of Section 377 dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children remain in force.

�Any kind of sexual activity with animals shall remain a penal offence under Section 377 of the IPC,� it said.

Delivering four separate but concurring judgements, the top court set aside its 2013 verdict which had re-criminalised consensual unnatural sex.

The bench, which also comprised Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, struck down part of Section 377 of the IPC as being violative of the right to equality and the right to live with dignity.

Dealing with a clutch of petitions, it held that Section 377 was used as a weapon to harass members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, resulting in discrimination.

Across the country, gay people gathered in front of their television sets, waiting anxiously for the verdict to be announced. Tears flowed and people hugged each other spontaneously, when the judgement flashed across their television and mobile phone screens.

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

The judgement came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur as well as 20 former and current students of the IITs.

They had sought decriminalisation of consensual sex between two consenting adults of the same sex by declaring Section 377 _ enacted 158 years ago _ illegal and unconstitutional. � PTI

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SC legalises consensual gay sex

NEW DELHI, Sept 6 - Consensual gay sex is not a crime, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, striking down a British era law that it said violates the right to equality and triggering celebrations among LGBTQ activists who welcomed it as a harbinger of a more inclusive India.

Parts of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised consensual unnatural sex, are �irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary�, the apex court said in its historic ruling that made India the 26th country in the world where homosexuality is legal.

�History owes an apology to members of the community for the delay in ensuring their rights,� for denying them their rights and compelling them to live a life of fear, said Justice Indu Malhotra, who was part of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that delivered the judgement, capping a 17-year legal struggle.

In its 493-page judgement, the bench said aspects of Section 377 dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children remain in force.

�Any kind of sexual activity with animals shall remain a penal offence under Section 377 of the IPC,� it said.

Delivering four separate but concurring judgements, the top court set aside its 2013 verdict which had re-criminalised consensual unnatural sex.

The bench, which also comprised Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, struck down part of Section 377 of the IPC as being violative of the right to equality and the right to live with dignity.

Dealing with a clutch of petitions, it held that Section 377 was used as a weapon to harass members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, resulting in discrimination.

Across the country, gay people gathered in front of their television sets, waiting anxiously for the verdict to be announced. Tears flowed and people hugged each other spontaneously, when the judgement flashed across their television and mobile phone screens.

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

The judgement came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur as well as 20 former and current students of the IITs.

They had sought decriminalisation of consensual sex between two consenting adults of the same sex by declaring Section 377 _ enacted 158 years ago _ illegal and unconstitutional. � PTI

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