Some call them abnormal, some say they are prone to a mental disease; yes it is the LGBTQI( lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex individuals.) community I am talking about. Delhi High Court’s verdict in 2009 was a breather for the gay community, it brought happiness and hope, but the world shattered for this minority community when the apex court upheld section 377 of the IPC.
The highly anticipated Supreme Court’s verdict on the rights of the LGBTQI has been shocking, heart-breaking and at the same time disappointing. The Supreme Court’s verdict to criminalize homosexuality, setting aside Delhi High Court’s judgment of 2009, came as a big blow to the queer community.After facing religious bias, legal contradictions, harassment, humiliation, and discrimination from all sections of society, at workplace and even by near and dear ones at times, the only ray of hope that LGBTQI were looking forward to, was a monumental judgment on the constitutional validity of the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which would totally change the way the world looked at them or I may say looked down upon them.
In what came as a very narrow interpretation of the rights of individuals as laid down in the constitution, seems Article 21 doesn’t even exist! In the name of values, culture and heritage, rights of a particular section of society are being encroached upon. I don’t know how many but I dare to ask, don’t homosexuals have the right to lead their lives according to their wish? Can’t they as adults decide who should they sexually/physically engage with? When SC observes that there is ‘no constitutional infirmity in section 377 of IPC’, I ask, are the roots of our constitution so weak, that if two people of the same sex engage in sexual activity, it is crippled.
In the name of judicial review, many a legislative decisions have been reviewed by the apex court, then why in this particular case has the court left the ball in the Parliament’s court? Is this not abdication of duty? We needed a verdict and truly believe that merely leaving the ultimate decision in the hands of the Legislature isn’t the appropriate step. I believe that this is a highly regressive decision and it needs to be reviewed by a higher bench of the Supreme Court.
By: Mugdha Kapoor