The Supreme Court of India today recognised the arbitrary nature of several of the provisions included in the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and sought to rectify them. A five-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra heard the case over two weeks in July and finally delivered a judgment today. There were four separate judgments but most of them concurred on the problematic nature of the section.
While reading out the verdict today, the CJI made some important points about privacy, majoritarianism and freedom of speech and expression. At a time the country is witnessing a surge of far-right religious sentiments and majoritarian oppression against minorities and Dalits, the court's comments should be also read in the context of other social evils plaguing the country.
Justice Indu Malhotra said, "History owes an apology to these people and their families. Homosexuality is part of human sexuality. They have the right of dignity and free of discrimination. Consensual sexual acts of adults are allowed for LGBT community."
Here are some of the most powerful things the court said today while delivering the verdict.
#Section377 CJI - Certain sections of our society have been living in shackles of exclusion. Have to vanquish prejudice and embrace inclusion and ensure equal rights. Prejudices are deeply ingrained in society.— sflc.in (@SFLCin) September 6, 2018
#Section377 Majoritarian views and popular views cannot dictate constitutional rights. LGBT community possess human rights like all other sections of society. Equality is essence of constitution. 377 is arbitrary.— sflc.in (@SFLCin) September 6, 2018
#Section377 CJI - We must recognize the concept of identity. The core is self determination. The view of majoritarianism is constitutionally untainable. Our Constitution is a dynamic document. Primary objective of constitution - inclusive society and dynamic society.— sflc.in (@SFLCin) September 6, 2018
#Section377 CJI - Morality cannot be martyred at the alter of social morality. Only Constitutional morality exists in our country.— sflc.in (@SFLCin) September 6, 2018
#Section377 CJI - Autonomy is invidualistic, people in private can choose to share intimacy with individuals of their choice.— sflc.in (@SFLCin) September 6, 2018
#Section377 Nariman - Private acts of individuals is not the laws domain. He has discussed various case laws from other jurisdictions as well the Indian Supreme Court. Has quoted the NALSA judgment and Puttuswamy judgment.— sflc.in (@SFLCin) September 6, 2018
#Section377 Chandrachud - Lethargy of law is manifst yet again. Charter of morality made homosexuals illegal. Civilization has been brutal. Law has imposed on LGBT community immorality. 377 exacts conformity on moral grounds.— sflc.in (@SFLCin) September 6, 2018
#Section377 Chandrachud - Tragedy and anguish which 377 inflicts must be remedied. Democratic as it is - our Constitution allows dissent.— sflc.in (@SFLCin) September 6, 2018