Supreme Court's verdict on right to privacy ignites hope for LGBT community

WION Web Team
New Delhi,India Published: Aug 24, 2017, 12:23 PM(IST)

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code dating back to 1860, introduced during the British rule of India, criminalises sexual activities "against the order of nature", arguably including homosexual sexual activities (Image: Flickr/D. A. Lewis) Photograph:( Others )

The Indian Supreme Court's landmark judgment declaring the right to privacy a fundamental right has touched upon issues that are fundamental to deciding the constitutionality of Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalises unnatural sex.

Even though the focus of the case has been on Aadhaar cards, the verdict has also brought hope for the LGBT community.

The Supreme Court, in its landmark judgement, observed that the "right to privacy is an integral part of right to life and personal liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution".

Furthermore, the judgment states - "The rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population cannot be construed to be 'so-called rights'... Their rights are not 'so-called' but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine."

A petition challenging Section 377 is still pending before the Supreme Court.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) dating back to 1860, introduced during the British rule in India, criminalises sexual activities "against the order of nature".

The section was decriminalised with respect to sex between consenting adults by the Delhi High Court in July 2009.

That judgment was overturned by the Supreme Court of India on 11 December, 2013, with the court ruling that amending or repealing Section 377 should be left to Parliament, not the judiciary.

On 6 February 2016, the final hearing of the curative petition submitted by the Naz Foundation and others came for hearing in the Supreme Court.

The three-member bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said that all the eight curative petitions submitted will be reviewed afresh by a five-member constitutional bench.

Today's judgement brings hope for the LGBT community which has been fighting for its rights.


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