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India’s Supreme Court will reconsider anti-gay legislation

India’s Supreme Court will reconsider anti-gay legislation

In 2013, extremist religious groups in India challenged a 2009 High Court decision to decriminalise homosexuality – and to the disgust of thousands, they won.

The High Court originally quashed a part of Section 377 (punishment for unnatural sex),which criminalised consensual sexual acts between adults in private.

It found that the provision violated the fundamental rights of sexual minorities to life, liberty, equality.

But, in 2013, after hearing appeals filed by Hindu, Islamic and Christian zealots, the Supreme Court overturned the HC order terming it “legally unsustainable” and said only Parliament was empowered to change a law.

But now, according to the BBC, the Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider that judgement.

Three senior judges said the 2013 ruling would be re-examined by a larger bench of judges, in a move that has been welcomed by activists. They said that the issue was:

A matter of constitutional importance.

According to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a 155-year-old British colonial-era law, a same-sex relationship is an “unnatural offence”.

In deeply conservative India, homosexuality is a taboo and many people still regard same-sex relationships as illegitimate.

This week the court heard a “curative petition” – meant to “cure” an earlier court order perceived as a “miscarriage of justice”.

The court said the five-judge bench would be headed by the Chief Justice of India.
No date has been announced for the next hearing into the matter.

Members of the LGBT community, standing outside the court, broke into cheers and impromptu celebrations when the decision was announced.

Activists say police and authorities often misuse the law to harass homosexuals. Under this law, a same-sex relationship is punishable by a 10-year jail term.

In its 2009 ruling, the Delhi High Court had described Section 377 as discriminatory and said gay sex between consenting adults should not be treated as a crime.

The ruling was widely and visibly welcomed by India’s gay community, which said the judgement would help protect them from harassment and persecution.

An Indian MP’s bid to introduce a private member’s bill in the parliament to decriminalise gay sex failed.

Shashi Tharoor who also started a petition on Change.org over the issue, which has more than 40,000 signatories, said:

It is time to bring the Indian Penal Code into the 21st century.

Zareer-Masani-Maculay

News of the Supreme Court’s decision to examine the case again came a day after BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme called Gay Bombay, presented by UK-based gay historian Dr Zareer Masani, above.

At one point in the broadcast Zareer returns to an elite Anglican school where he once suffered homophobic bullying. There is he told by the head that, when the Supreme Court overturned the High Court decision, many of the pupils took to the streets to protest.

Hat tip: Marcus

14 responses to “India’s Supreme Court will reconsider anti-gay legislation”

  1. Broga says:

    What is it about gay sex that so agitates these bigots? Their lives seem to be centred on an obsession which doesn’t interfere with their sexual habits. Some of these habits, involving pitiful sex object wives, could benefit from examination.

  2. gedediah says:

    Some people have nothing better to do than worry about what others get upto between the sheets. It’s none of their business.

  3. Newspaniard says:

    I thought that India was above this kind of persecution. It is the kind of savagery one would expect from those barbarians to the north in Pakistan. What is a Sikh doing among the protesters, surely he knows what it is like to be persecuted? He, particularly, should be ashamed. Time he came out of the closet.

  4. L.Long says:

    Why is gay bad??? Have you noticed that no real scientist or secularist or atheist or humanist gets all pissy about gay!!!???
    Only hate filled, bigoted, intolerant ahole religions do!?!?!
    The statement of ‘a religion of peace & love’ is a bold faced lie!!!

  5. Justin Badby says:

    @Broga
    I’ll tell you what it is…
    If you have a population of undereducated semiliterate repressed people who are under the control of nasty calculating power hungry religiopolitical junta, then its easy to ratchet up hatred and bigotry. That’s what is going on here. Those in power want to keep it by whipping up hysteria in the massed ranks of the unthinking gullible underclasses. You aint gonna retain power by being an All Inclusive All Round Good Mr Nice Guy. You need to be a ruthless bastard, have a clearly identified blame group upon which to unleash the hate of of the masses. No matter if you are a rampant queer yourself … drum up homophobia to give the underclass something to lash out at and they will overlook to kick your ass from power. A bored and downtrodden underclass will wake up and have a rope around your neck before you can rush to the airport and jump in your private jet. Keep the poor hysterically busy and you can cream in all the dosh and live on easy street and do what the fuck you please. There, thats what its about.

  6. barriejohn says:

    How, exactly, do they intend to “stop gay sex”? What a fucking stupid aspiration!

  7. CoastalMaineBird says:

    Justin Badby is exactly right – it’s the same as it ever was…

    In Tyranny 101 class, they teach you to divide people into US and THEM, and tell them that if you’re not one of US, then you’re one of THEM. If you have a natural THEM, then so much the better, but if you don’t, then CREATE one.

    Religion is the most prevalent, but not the sole, practitioner of this tactic.

    Keep the proles busy fighting THEM, and then they won’t be asking inconvenient questions about US.

  8. CoastalMaineBird says:

    ‘How, exactly, do they intend to “stop gay sex”?’

    By more laws, of course. It’s what they do.

    Of course, the point is not to stop gay sex, but to be seen to be doing something.

  9. barriejohn says:

    CoastalMaine Bird: Maybe they’re going to send all homosexuals to prison. There’s no gay sex there!

    I know it’s becoming a cliche now, but do they intend to outlaw gay sex between animals? The following shows just how paranoid they are:

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/557280.html

    Think of the poor children!

  10. Broga says:

    @Justin Badby : An admirable summing up. That makes sense to me.

  11. Cali Ron says:

    CoastalMaineBird: The republican primary here illustrates your point perfectly. Either you are a born again conservative or you are an “Illegal” immigrant, a baby killer, a homosexual, a “taker”, a liberal, an atheist, etc. Never mind the facts, it’s all about the rhetoric.

  12. Cali Ron says:

    barriejohn:
    Apparently the author of the story in the Moscow times is weak on the concept of “gay sex”. What would 2 different species being friends have to do with gay sex? Is it my imagination or does it seem like the ones who protest gay sex the most are the one’s who are denying their inner urges, as if publicly overreacting will somehow make the “unwanted” desires go away.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron: It was a Russian lawyer who was saying that, actually, which tells you quite a lot. His allegations remind me of the nonsense from the American religious right (Jerry Falwell in particular) regarding the Telly Tubbies a few years back:

    Tinky Winky…”is purple – the gay-pride colour; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.”

    He said the “subtle depictions” of gay sexuality are intentional and later issued a statement that read: “As a Christian I feel that role modelling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/276677.stm

    And, incidentally, the BBC also report this morning that archaeologists examining prehistoric bones at Stonehenge have found evidence of ” a surprising degree of gender equality”. What a good job that God, in his infinite wisdom, saw to it that the Glorious Gospel of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ soon arrived on these shores to put the matter right. Phew!

  14. Lucy1 says:

    And, if I was running a religion, I would very definitely claim to know what god approved of in the way of sexual behaviour. That way, I could make sure my followers would never relax freely and have a good time. The religion would be in their minds, even in bed in the dark. Maybe especially in bed in the dark.