When the apex court unanimously announced that section 377 is unconstitutional and hence should be abolished on 6th September last year, the entire nation erupted with joy. That day will be remembered forever in the history of Indian Law, for liberating the LGBTQ+ community from the clutches of an outdated law implemented by the British Raj. There are many people who worked tirelessly to make decriminalisation of homosexuality a reality in our country. Lawyers Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy are two of them. Which is why it isn’t surprising that they have been listed among the TIME magazine’s top 100 Influential People of 2019.
TIME 100 is an annual listicle naming the top 100 influencers in the world and is published by American news magazine TIME. It was first published in 1999 and has emerged as a highly anticipated annual listicle. The final list is exclusively chosen by the TIME editors and the nominees are chosen by the TIME’s International writing staff and the TIME 100 alumni.
“It’s a historic, memorable judgment but we need to reflect and celebrate the judgment and be thoughtful about the future.” – Menaka Guruswamy on scrapping of section 377.
“This landmark judgment, overturning a 157-year-old law, was the outcome of a long-term campaign orchestrated by two amazing public-interest litigators, Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy. The fight has been hard. The LGBTQ+ community has battled on both legal and social fronts for decades-—for their fundamental rights, for privacy, for dignity, for safety and for love.”, reads Priyanka Chopra’s profile on them. You can read it here.
What Makes Arundhati Katju And Menaka Guruswamy Stand Out
Not just the LGBTQ rights, but Menaka Guruswamy is also the first Indian to have her portrait displayed at the Rhodes House, Oxford University. She has also been a Human Rights Consultant for United Nations. Moreover, she has previously litigated a large constitutional case that successfully sought reform of public administration and the bureaucracy in the country. Arundhati Katju has argued nearly 100 appellate cases before the Delhi High Court when in the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee, India’s top legal aid program.
When SheThePeople.TV spoke to Menaka Guruswamy last year after the historic verdict, on how she thought the judgment has paved the way for bigger changes to come, she said, “Clearly, it speaks to a bright future. It’s a historic, memorable judgment but we need to reflect and celebrate the judgment and be thoughtful about the future. You have a firm constitutional base to build on. As a country, we are a work in progress.”
An Indian lawyer with over thirteen years of experience in Indian Trial and Appellate Courts, Arundhati Katju’s work encompasses a broad array of practice areas. She has argued nearly 100 appellate cases before the Delhi High Court when in the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee, India’s top legal aid program. She is also a yoga teacher and has taught Yoga in New Delhi and New York.
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Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv