Re-criminalizing same sex relations - a blow to equality and dignity

The Peoples’ Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) expresses deep disappointment at the Supreme Court ruling making homosexual relations between consenting adults an offence.  In an affirmation of the rights of Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) persons, the Delhi High Court in a landmark judgment in 2009 had de-criminalized consensual same- sex relations, taking it out of the ambit of ‘unnatural sex’ under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.  Ironically in a judgment delivered the day after the celebration of Human Rights Day, the Apex Court has delivered a body blow to the right to equality and the right to life enshrined as guaranteed fundamental rights.

When world over a struggle is being waged for more inclusivity and deepening sensitivity to vulnerable sections of society, the India Apex Court, ironically,  has put the stamp of approval on discrimination and violation of the privacy and dignity of LGBT persons. Right to privacy and dignity are integral facets of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. This ruling is likely to result in an increase in harassment of the LGBT community by the police due to the re-criminalizing of same sex relations.
 
We urge Parliament to take immediate steps to amend the law and de-criminalize consensual same-sex relations.
 
D. Manjit and Asish Gupta
(Secretaries)