In a history decision, India’s Supreme Court has declared homosexuality as legal in India by scrapping down  Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. After decades, India’s LGBTQ community has a huge reason to celebrate for they fought against it for years.

Homosexuality is not an offence in India, five Supreme Court judges declared today in a spectacular verdict for the gay rights movement in the country.

“No one can escape from their individualism. Society is now better for individualism,” said CJI Deepak Misra. “We have to bid adieu to prejudices and to empower all citizens,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra said, reading out the judgement. Four judges gave a concurrent judgement.

The whole object of fundamental rights chapter is to strike down those laws which would otherwise not be struck down by majoritarian government – Nariman

After hearing the petitions on Section 377 in July, the constitution bench of Supreme Court today pronounced its final verdict on the issue that criminalizes homosexuality in the country. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India while hearing the petitions did agree with many advocates who spoke against the validity of the law and Justice Rohinton Nariman had said that if it violates the fundamental human rights of any person then they will “strike it down and not leave it to legislature”.

Reactions to Section 377 Being Struck Down

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM CJI DIPAK MISHRA

Homosexuality is not a mental disorder

Section 377 was a weapon to harass members of LGBT community, resulting in discrimination.

Section 377 is arbitrary. LGBT community posses rights like others.

Autonomy of an individual is important. He or she can not surrender it to anyone

No one can escape from their individualism. Society is now better for individualism

“The whole object of fundamental rights chapter is to strike down those laws which would otherwise not be struck down by majoritarian governments,” Nariman had added. “We won’t wait for majoritarian governments to enact or delete.”

Reactions to Section 377

Earlier in January this year, the bench — comprising Misra and Justices Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra — announced that it would reconsider the 2013 judgment in Suresh Kumar Koushal & Ors. v. Naz Foundation & Ors case. In July, advocates like Mukul Rohatgi who represented lead petitioner Navtej Singh Johar, Menaka Guruswamy who represented students’ community of IIT etc. fought extensively for the rights of the LGBTQ community. The central government also took a step back in the case and said that as long as the case is about decriminalization of homosexuality it will leave the decision to the constitution bench.

No one can escape from their individualism. Society is now better for individualism

ALSO READ: Will Strike Down Section 377 If It Violates Fundamental Rights: SC

In 2013, Supreme Court had criminalised homosexuality through a two-member bench. In 2016, six gay activists filed petitions for repealing the Section 377 act. They included Chef Ritu Dalmia, Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, Writer Aman Nath, Businesswoman Ayesha Kapur and Keshav Suri.

With this judgement, the Supreme Court has proved its support for inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the social fabric of the country. And it was high time.

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