All You Need to Know About the SC’s Landmark Section 377 Verdict

On Thursday, 6 September, the Supreme Court of India emphatically overruled its regressive Koushal judgment of 2013, which had upheld Section 377 of the IPC in its entirety, allowing it to be used to punish even consensual same-sex acts.

The new decision in Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India, however, reads down Section 377 to no longer criminalise any acts between consenting adults. As Justice DY Chandrachud pointed out, however, this case was about much more than just that, given the tragic effects of this provision on the LGBTQ+ community:

But this case involves much more than merely decriminalising certain conduct which has been proscribed by a colonial law. The case is about an aspiration to realise constitutional rights. It is about a right which every human being has, to live with dignity. It is about enabling these citizens to realise the worth of equal citizenship.

Justice DY Chandrachud

In the 493-page-long document, the five-judge bench, comprised of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra along with Justices DY Chandrachud, Rohinton Nariman, Indu Malhotra and AM Khanwilkar, expanded and elaborated on India’s fundamental rights, affirmed the importance of choice and constitutional morality, and emphasised the transformative nature of our Constitution.

All the judges held that Section 377 violated the fundamental rights of the LGBT+ community, though the four separate (concurring) judgments did so with some unique arguments that reflected the particular approach of the judges who authored them.

The judges expressly held that the LGBT+ community was entitled to equal rights under the Constitution, and recognised the way in which the provision had been used to abuse and traumatise the community, and the need to rectify this discrimination.

Source - The Quint 

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