On 11th December last year, the hopes of the LGBT community and the colors of their rainbow flag turned black by a Supreme Court decision which rebuked a High Court judgment passed earlier in 2009 decriminalizing section 377. In a shocking turn of events which came as a severe blow to those directly affected, Supreme Court dived back into those depths of orthodox principals and beliefs from where Indian people are struggling to rise. The display of clutched mentality and lackadaisical attitude of the government towards the people from LGBT community is in true sense, a portrait of the Indian mentality.
Delhi High Court in 2009(Naz judgment) came up with one of the most revolutionary progress in the IPC section 377 which states, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation.—Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.”, while decriminalizing the section and freeing India from a 160 year old display of crippled mindset. Delhi High court stated that adult consensual sex in private will not be covered under section 377. British government in 1860 enacted the act to prevent people from having ‘unnatural sex’. But the relief which was enjoyed by the people of this community soon faded pertaining to the Supreme Court’s overruling decision later in 2013.
The reality is equally overlooked by the government and the judiciaries. Section 377 directly contradicts some of the fundamental rights of any citizen of the country. Article 21 ensures Right to Life and personal Liberty; whereas Article 14 and 15 guarantee equality while prohibiting discrimination on the basis of, religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. All three of these articles ensure some basic sense of belonging a citizen of a country needs, rather than strengthening the support and morale of this ‘in the closet’ community, apex court now exposed them to severe discrimination on all walks of life, harassment by the authorities and ills which leave a community nothing but helpless. Most of the countries in the world are slowly and gradually opening up to the existence of the LGBT community as an integral part of the society, and some have even legalized gay marriages while most of them have decriminalized sex between consenting adults of the same gender in private. Initially showcasing a symbol of political and judiciary maturity, Indian government and the court, reiterated the existence of boorishness in the Indian judicial system. A prominent Indian writer, Vikram Seth in his sarcastic comment on the issue said, “You shall not love or make love, with the person you love, not because of excessive youth or unwillingness, but because he or she comes from a different religion, a different caste, the same village or the same gender”.