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Section 377 verdict today: LGBT community pins hopes on SC

The community hopes SC will decriminalise homosexual relationship between two consenting adults.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
December 11, 2013 2:51:06 am

Members of the lesbian,gay,bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community all over India have their fingers crossed as the Supreme Court is scheduled to give its verdict on Section 377 of the IPC on Wednesday.

Section 377,which criminalises “unnatural offences”,had been declared unconstitutional by the Delhi High Court in 2009. However,the decision was later challenged in the Supreme Court.

The community hopes the apex court will uphold the HC verdict and decriminalise homosexual relationship between two consenting adults.

LGBT activists had termed the Delhi High Court’s decision as a “historic first” in India in their effort to fight for their rights. “Now,we are waiting with bated breath and keeping our fingers crossed for the SC verdict,” Ashok Row Kavi,a prominent LGBT rights activist,told The Indian Express.

Row Kavi is believed to be the first person to openly talk about homosexuality and gay rights in India. His first ‘coming out’ interview appeared way back in 1986.

“The judgment will be extremely important and the mood really is quite expectant,” said Row Kavi,adding that the momentum had been building for several years now.

Petitioners,including NAZ Foundation,parents of LGBT persons and others,had challenged the constitutional validity of Section 377. The verdict will decide the legality of homosexuality.

“Our level of excitement is unbelievable,” said Bidhumadhav Khire,president of the Sampathik Trust that works with men who have sex with men in the city. Khire’s mother Shakuntala is among the petitioners who feels the SC verdict will be an important one as it will give a direction on how the future laws will evolve. “If it (the SC) is not in favour,my gay son will not get the respect that a first class citizen commands,” she said.

Dr Bhushan Shukla,child and adolescent psychiatrist who is among the six mental health professionals who had certified in the affidavit to SC that homosexuality was not an illness,said because of the stigma,several parents would visit psychiatrists to “cure” their child of the “ailment”. “It is a scientific fact that homosexuality is not a perversion or illness,” Shukla had stated in the affidavit,adding that the gay community was excessively punished because of the Section 377,which should be decriminalised.

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