LGBT: ONE YEAR OF FREEDOM
Last year on this day, the Supreme Court gave one of the historic judgments of the country by decriminalizing Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. Section 377 referred to Unnatural offences. As per the section whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
In 2009, the Delhi High Court passed a judgment. It was declared in the case of the NGO Naaz Foundation by decriminalizing the relationship of same-sex couples. However, in 2013 the Apex Court overturned this decision of the High Court and restored the criminality of the sexual relationship between persons of the same sex.
But in the end, justice came in the hands of the people of India and especially the people of the LGBT community. Through the case of Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India struck down Section 377, India’s colonial-era sodomy law.
The preamble of the Constitution of India promises the people of the country equality, dignity, and fraternity. But the members of the LGBT do not have access to these basic Fundamental Rights only. It is because they have different sexual preferences. The Constitution’s promises have now been made true for LGBT Indians.
The Journey of One Year
The period of one year is enough time to introspect any situation. People are now coming in open to accept the fact of their preferences. For eg. Dutee Chand, the third Indian woman to ever qualify for the Women’s 100 meters event at the Summer Olympic Games. She came out in public when her partner asked her what name they would give their relationship, she responded by telling the world about her sexual orientation.
In today’s world, Bollywood can impact one’s mind. Recently released film ‘Ek Ladki ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’. Which depicts the bullying and depression that many young people of the LGBT community faces. The movie also showed a father moving from bewilderment to supporting his lesbian daughter.
Though Section 377 is decriminalized but still today people face many inequalities with regards to many laws. Some of them include adoption, surrogacy, medical insurance for your partner, etc. The Statutes concerning all these acts do not include for the provisions of a same-sex couple as that of the opposite sex-couple.
Another big step that is required is anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. People should not be discriminated against in matters of hiring and promotion.
In all, the most important change that is required is in the mentality of the people of the country. The decriminalizing of same-sex marriages/relationships is the first step in providing justice to the people. Now the people are being upfront with their choices but the rest of the public also needs to owe them their rights. After this judgment, the phrase which was used for India ‘unity in diversity’ was once again justified.