Friday, December 20, 2013

Verdict 377: Progressive or regressive step?

Recent judgement by Supreme Court of India related with section 377 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) has created lot of controversy as well as very emotional response from LGBT community across the world. Supreme court actually set aside the lower court ruling (historic 2009 judgement by Delhi High Court about the same issue) and ruled that Section 377 (which criminalises sexual activities "against the order of nature", including homosexual acts) is indeed constitutional and also said that it's not the job of court to repeal or amend this section but only parliament can do this. According to me this is such a regressive step, a step in reverse direction, after 2009 historic judgement (which was hailed by most of the world) slowly people were becoming more open about their sexuality (especially people from LGBT community) in India, they were coming out of closets and feeling more comfortable to share views about their sexual orientation, they were slowly getting over the social stigma and fear of law attached with these things (the said law can be used to torture or trouble them but it rarely happens, it seems less than 10 cases are reported so far under this section), but this judgement has capacity to derail all that development and do more harm than good.

Homosexuality is not new to India, there are sculptures in Khajuraho temple who display homosexual acts, many people call it unnatural, I think only nature has capacity to decide whether it's a natural or unnatural act, unnatural things normally don't survive for long, they get perished over the time just because they are unnatural, so we should not discuss on this point. One can debate whether it's ethical or moral or legal or not because all these are man made concepts and change from time to time, generally in any progressive society these concepts evolve with time, they get modified as society evolves, so according to me it was bold and giant step by judiciary when Delhi high court in 2009 decided to recognize existence of such community (homosexuals) and took first step to welcome them in our society. Before that judgement these people were cornered group, always tried to hide their identity, who chose to disclose it lived almost like second class citizens just because of their sexual orientation. Still even today many people in our society look down on transgenders, eunuchs, impotents as well as homosexuals, these all don't feel welcomed in most social settings once their identity is disclosed. These people are also citizens of country or society they live like any of us, just because they have few things which don't match with our line of thinking doesn't mean they are abnormal or evil. Many societies who claim to be tolerant and inclusive (which India also claims) discriminate people based on their sexual orientation or race or caste, I wonder on what basis they call themselves tolerant or inclusive when they can not accommodate people with sexual orientation which is different than so called normal sexual orientation? Can't we modify this 150 year old law which can eliminate this type of discrimination, or we are going to play the game of passing the buck (from judiciary to parliament and from parliament to judiciary)? How long these people have to wait for their rights as citizens of their country which they love and respect, why not their countries rise to occasion and acknowledge their existence and honor their presence? There are many questions like this which this judgment and attitude of our society towards these people poses in front of us, but the main question is, do these people are going to get right to live in our country as equal citizens or not? If yes, then what steps are we going to take to make sure that they get their right? If not then do we deserve to be called as tolerant, inclusive and progressive society with rich culture?

Every society and culture needs to evolve with time, things which evolve survive long and which don't perish over the time no matter how strong they seem now, we have many examples from history to prove this hypothesis. Also as a society we need to be considerate and sensitive to the needs of all sections of our society, not all the time we should think about majority groups, minority sections also need equal consideration and respect and this is true in regard with any religion, race, caste, sexual orientation or anything else. Giving equal status and opportunity to all sections of society is sign of civilized and evolving culture and I believe everyone wants to stay in such atmosphere. This particular judgement is not going to help to create this environment in India and that's why I feel as a society we need to protest against this and should ask for equal rights for all citizens. Whether I am homo or heterosexual doesn't matter when I am fighting for anyone's rights, I may belong to different faith, race or gender but when I see injustice done to people I feel it's my duty to stand for them irrespective of their gender, race, beliefs and orientations and with this spirit I feel this judgement is regressive step and sooner we correct it better it is for our society.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Links:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_377_of_the_Indian_Penal_Code
2. Verdict 377: Betrayed by my own country!
3. समलैंगिकता अपराध है?

1 comment:

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