Section 377: Everything you need to know

Now a days one of the most trendinNowadaysregarding the freedom for people in choosing their partner irrespective of their gender. Recently, the decriminalization on Section 377 has brought relief to the LGBT community.

Here is everything that you need to know about the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The History of Section 377

In the year 1861, while the britishers ruled India Section 377 was introduced.

Section 377 of the IPC reads, " 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."  

Though there was no mention regarding having sexual intercourse with the same gender but the term “against the order of nature” meant the same indirectly. Thus, sexual activities between the people of same gender were considered as a crime.

In the year 1994, AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan made efforts to decriminalize homosexuality. The first petition and challenged the constitution regarding the same.

One more attempt was made by the NAZ Foundation to decriminalize Section 377 in 2001. They challenged the section’s constitutionality by filing a petition in Delhi High Court.

Unfortunately, this time also the attempt wasn’t successful as in 2003, the Delhi High Court dismissed the petition.

In 2009, Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality. It was stated that this violates the Articles 14, 15, 21 of the Constitution.

The verdict was further revised in 2012 by Supreme Court and Section 377 was upholded.

The efforts didn’t stop there and Shashi Tharoor introduced a private member’s bill to decriminalize homosexuality. However, the Lok Sabha rejected it.

A group of LGBTQ activists moved to Supreme Court for justice in 2016 again.

The final verdict of freedom

After several efforts made for having equal rights for the people of LGBTQ community, finally on Sept 6, 2018 the decision was announced in favour of the masses.

Here is what Supreme Court said, “The right to live with dignity has been recognised. Sexual orientation is a natural phenomenon determined by biology and science. Any discrimination on this basis is unconstitutional.”

Chief Justice Dipak Misra read out the judgement and said:

Only Constitutional morality and not social morality can be allowed to permeate rule of law… Sexual orientation is one of the many natural phenomenon. Any discrimination on basis of sexual orientation amounts to violation of fundamental rights. After judgement in Puttuswamy case, privacy has been raised to fundamental right.

Reaction of the nation to this historic judgement

The nation came up with mixed reactions for this verdict. However, it was a moment of joy for most of the people in the nation. The largest democracy of the world finally gave everyone the right to choose their partners according to their wish.

There was a huge celebration by activists from the LGBTQ community in the lawns of the court.

On the other hand, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind showed disappointment over the verdict saying that same gender marriage will affect the family system and harm the human race.

The Communist Party of India declared this verdict as a historic victory as people will no longer have to be afraid of disclosing their gender preferences.