Decriminalizing Article 377
Came into force on 1872, section 377 of Indian penal code criminalizes consensual same sex between adults. The law states that “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 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.” But on 6th September 2018, the Supreme court’s 5 bench judge, led by the then Chief Justice Deepak Misra unanimously held that the section 377 be decriminalized. The supreme court therefore held that the right against non-discrimination on the basis of sex, guaranteed in Article 15 of the constitution be applicable to people of different sexual orientation.
This judgement provides equality to sexual minorities in the country. Harassment by the authorities and also by the judiciary will seize to exist. This legal ruling has allowed the gender diverse people to come out with confidence and own their sexuality. The families of LGBTQ community can now protect their loved ones with confidence from the society. With this judgement history of unfair treatment of the people from this community has been brought to an end.
The Way Forward
Though Judgement helps in removing the social prejudice in the society against these people, there is still a long way to go. The LGBTQ community still doesn’t have certain rights which an ordinary citizen is entitled to. They can’t get married or raise a child. The transgender community still finds it difficult to get jobs or they are not even provided with reservation. Even though decriminalizing has given solid legal footing to the community, they have still not been accepted in rural India, where people consider this as an abnormality.
In-order to provide equality to these people, the supreme court should decide on the larger issues of legalising same sex marriages, inheritance, adoption and other fundamental rights. Schools and other educational institutions should start providing education on these issues and help the society understand the need for reforms in the LGBTQ area. It’s been 2 years since the judgement and let’s hope that the mindset of the people changes and larger acceptance of the people from the community happens.