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Section 377: A retrograde decision

Posted by Shreyans Jain Friday, 20 December 2013 1 comments
 

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 2009 Delhi High Court verdict that decriminalised gay sex is regressive and has dealt a severe blow to liberal values and human rights. Such display of circumspection in its jurisprudence by the apex court has only reinforced the stigma associated with homosexuality. In the name of societal morality and decency, personal liberty has been made a scapegoat here. It is disheartening to see one group of individuals being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation. Section 377 was brought in 150 years ago in consonance with the patriarchal family set-up. Lawmakers then termed any form of sexual activity beyond the man-woman relationship as ‘unnatural’ and saw it as a worthless pursuit of pleasure that only results in the wastage of god given energy meant exclusively for the creation of progeny. What they failed to observe was the fact that sexual orientation is not something that a person acquires wilfully. It is something that he or she gets by birth or through interaction with the society. Homosexuality is, therefore, an exclusively private preference. 

Even after several years of protests by the activist groups and progressive intellectuals, Section 377 – which punishes ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ – is now back in force and hangs over the heads of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT). The honourable Court has stepped in wherever the judiciary has failed and has not hesitated to uphold the constitutionally enumerated fundamental rights to life and to equality. Why should it then not shy away from correcting a centuries-old law and an obsolete, regressive mind-set that offend against basic rights and human dignity?


The Court’s decision can have serious repercussions for the LGBT community. Harassment and the stigma associated with homosexuality may not only lead to social alienation of the LGBT community but may also lead to severe health consequences, particularly in the fight against AIDS. It is therefore the prerogative of the legislature to provide legal and constitutional protection to the LGBT community in this ever-evolving society. 

As a purportedly progressive and modern society, we must not lag behind in upholding the rights of the LGBT community. The need of the hour is to dismantle the obsolete notions and initiate measures that enable all sections of society enjoy a dignified life. At the same time, young people should not be lured into practising this aberration as a fashion statement. Aberration should be prevented from becoming convention.

1 comments:

BELL PHILLIS said...

The first gay marriage ceremonies took place in England as a law permitting same-sex marriages came into effect on 29th March. Same sex couples rushed to tie the knot across the country, vying to be among the first ones to exchange their vows at the stroke of midnight. The Parliament of UK passed the legislation sanctioning the legality of gay marriages in England and Wales in July 2013. With the law coming into effect now, individuals who have wedded a same sex partner overseas would also be recognized as married in England and Wales. There has been overwhelming popular support for gay marriage in the UK, with multiple surveys showing that over two-thirds of Britons approve of it.

lesbian couples

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