A 157-year-old law which criminalizes homosexual (gay) acts was overturned in a historical win for India’s human rights groups and the LGBT Community.
A 2013 judgement that upheld the British-era law, section 377, which categorizes homosexuality as an criminal act or an “unnatural offence,” was overturned recently at the Supreme Court in India. Furthermore, the said law also prohibits certain sexual acts, namely, all anal and oral sex, and are punishable up to 10 years.
Although the the section 377 criminalizes all anal and oral sex, the homosexual community was burden of this law to a large extent. According to human rights organizations who are focusing on the issue mentioned of many instances where the police would use this law to intimidate and exploit members of the LGBT community.
This is the end of a long and tedious battle to end a law that discriminate based on sexual orientation in India. However, the judges notably mentioned that the case was only focused on the constitutional validity of the section 377, and rights such as marriage.
A judge Indu Malhotra said, “history owes an apology” to LGBT community for marginalizing and discriminating them. However, many equal human rights advocates are celebrating the victory by Menaka Guruswamy, the lawyer for the petitioners, and are energized for a more inclusive law and order in the future.