In a historic judgment, the Supreme Court today decriminalised Section 377 in a massive victory for human rights. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra headed the five-judge Constitution bench which gave the the verdict. Here are ten important things from the verdict that you must know:

“I am what I am so take me as I am.  No one can escape who they are” – CJI

1. The Chief Justice, while reading out the verdict, announced criminalising Section 377 is irrational and indefensible. He said criminalising this was a weapon to harass members of the LGBT community which resulted in discrimination.

2. The verdict said that Section 377 is arbitrary and the LGBT community possesses rights like others. Most important, the bench explained how majoritarian views and popular morality cannot dictate constitutional rights. “Autonomy of an individual is important. He or she can not surrender it to anyone,” the bench added.

3. “Homosexuality is not a mental disorder” – SC

4. The judgment emphasised that sexual orientation is biological, innate. A man or woman has no control over who they get attracted to. Any repression will be a violation of free expression, the Court observed. The judgment also said, “377 while criminalising acts fails to make a distinction between consensual and non-consensual act”.

5. “Children covered under POCSO.” – SC

6. The Court said: “Primary objective of having a Constitutional society is to transform the society progressively; Constitutional provisions should not be interpreted in a literal sense. The sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of Freedom of Expression. The provision of IPC had resulted in collateral effect in that consensual sex between LGBT person is criminalised and is violative of Article 14.”

7. LGBT Community has the same rights as of any ordinary citizen. Respect for each other’s rights and others are supreme humanity. Criminalising homosexuality is irrational and indefensible, observed CJI Dipak Misra.

8. “Look for the rainbow in every cloud. Look for emancipation from bondage. Towards leading a life without pretence” – CJI

9. The SC pointed out that just like the “eminence of identity stated in the NALSA case, in the same spirit, we must recognise that concept of identity. LGBT community possesses the same equality as other citizens. Role of the court becomes more important when the rights pertaining to a minority group or group which has been denied rights from time immemorial. Constitutional morality includes within itself plurality. Sexual orientation is one of many biological phenomena controlled by neurological impulse.

10. CJI Dipak Misra said, “Society is now better for individualism. In the present case, our deliberations will be on various spectrums.” He added, “Vanquishing enemies of prejudices and undoing the wrongs.”

It was a long time coming, but it’s finally happened. We can proudly call ourselves a truly free society as of this day. What’s needed now is to free mindsets from prejudices and stereotypes that have baselessly been embedded since ages.

Also Read: India says yes to equal love, homosexuality is now legal in India

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