In a historic verdict today, the Indian Supreme Court has enshrined the protection of LGBTQ rights in India. By striking down the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which stated that ‘unnatural’ sex was punishable by law, the highest court in the nation has taken a stand on human rights.
As part of the judgement, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra stated that “majoritarian views and popular views cannot dictate constitutional rights. LGBT community possesses human rights like all other sections of society. Equality is the essence of the constitution. [Section] 377 is arbitrary.”
The law, which was written in 1861 under the British colonial government, stated that “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” was illegal.
In the modern context, and in light of a 2013 court verdict that upheld Section 377, this was taken as a reference to homosexuality. According to NDTV, while the law was rarely enforced, it was used by the police to intimidate the LGBTQ community.
The Supreme Court made an active stand against this reference as their statement continued to say, “sexual orientation is one of many biological phenomenon. It is natural and no discrimination can exist. Any violation [of LGBTQ rights] is against freedom of speech and expression.”
Unsurprisingly, this verdict was greeted by throes of pro-rights activists outside the Supreme Court and across the country.
#WATCH Celebrations at Delhi's The Lalit hotel after Supreme Court legalises homosexuality. Keshav Suri, the executive director of Lalit Group of hotels is a prominent LGBT activist. pic.twitter.com/yCa04FexFE
— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018
Similarly, social media seemed to erupt with support for the decision, including from celebrities.
Historical judgment!!!! So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights! The country gets its oxygen back! ????????? pic.twitter.com/ZOXwKmKDp5
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) September 6, 2018
— AMIT (@AMIT_GUJJU) September 6, 2018