SECTION 377: WHAT’S SO UNNATURAL ABOUT IT

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SUBHADEEP SANTRA :The Lesbian gay bisexual transgender community may not rest on its laurels.

The partial retraction of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code by the Supreme Court is a penultimate milestone not an ultimate victory.

Calling sexual orientation a ‘private affair’ the Supreme Court on 24 August 2017 decriminalised Consensual same sex behaviour among adults, with bestiality still a criminal offence.

Indian penal code section 377 had earlier stated 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 which…may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.”

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The supreme court while adjudicating observed that the right to privacy is a fundamental right protected under article 21 of the constitution. It also said that the mere fact that a practice is prevalent in a minuscule population does not qualify it to be ‘unnatural’.

Jurists over the world feel that the decision was a delayed implementation of the principles of article 17 of the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in the  International Civil and political Rights (ICCPR) and ratified by India on 10th April 1979.

ICCPR article 17 stated, “ No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence..”

Human Rights Crusaders feel that the path ahead is a difficult terrain. “It took four decades to overcome the ‘Against-the-Indian Culture’ Sham portrayed by a few political big shots” said a member of the LGBT community unwilling to disclose his identity.

Rejoices apart, a political and legal strife is looming in the horizon. The mere repeal of IPC section 377 do not imply changes in the Hindu Marriage Act or the special marriage Act. Laws related to adoption or guardianship are also entact.

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A psychiatrist once said “Children adopted by homosexual couples may accrue identity crisis”

Though many human rights activist do not agree to it and are determined to make efforts for a change.

Marriage in India is perceived to be not so private affair.It is a social, legal and religious affair. Marriage between same sex partners have so complicated implications that the ICCPR in article 23 reinstated the right of marriage but depicted not a scintilla of orientation towards or against the same sex marriage.

Social nuances of the conjugal life surmounted by political interventions may invite a prolonged battle. Political leaders who cannot bear the slightest disarray in their ‘culture’ may pick up scuffles now and then.

The road is coarse.

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