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Indian court rules to decriminalise gay sex

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  1. Having Indian friends I know that they often say how pleased they were with the laws and democratic rights the British left behind. However, this is one law which we can’t be proud of iand in this day and age I am pleased India has got rid of it!

  2. A tentative congratulations, as there is a real risk that this ruling will be overturned. The government is already being lobbied by religious organisations with homophobic motives.

  3. Mihangel apYrs 2 Jul 2009, 11:20am

    hopefully societal change will follow the legal one; let’s hope it doesn’t get overturned.

    It’s interesting that India (and many of our ex-colonies) cling to the nastier elements of imposed legal systems.

  4. Robert, ex-pat Brit 2 Jul 2009, 1:19pm

    Yes, a legacy of our tainted colonial past, nothing to be proud of. How we could have had the arrogance to subject other cultures to our will and imposing oppressive legal systems, as well as looting and pillaging, is it no wonder we’re despised so much around the globe? It was the same oppressive arrogance that brought about introduction of Section 28. If Labour hadn’t kicked Thatcher out, we’d still have that offensive piece of oppression denigrating and oppressing our lives. Don’t forget, Cameron supported it at the time it was enacted.

  5. Very true. Just look at Jamaica and the lives being lost there because of the legacy we left behind of homophopbic legislation.

  6. apart from the fact that the religious are going to try and meddle (as they usually do) and have this repeal annulled, it is also worth noting that the Court’s jurisdiction is limited to the Dehli area.

  7. Today the issue of decriminalization of Homosexuality has arose in the pretence of Fundamental rights. Once homosexuality between consenting adults is legalized then the issue of gay and lesbian marriage would be raised. Once the gay and lesbian marriage is legalized then the issue of adoption of child would be raised. And all these issues will finally lead to corruption of morals in the society.

    Until now people have grown up looking at the heterosexual pairs and know them to be Father-Mother, Uncle-Aunt, Husband-Wife etc but imagine the world when two males start living together! Would they be called as Father-Father, Husband-Husband or Mr-Mr?

    It has been contented on many occasions that S.377 of the IPC violates the fundamental rights of Homosexuals but the fact is S.377 of the IPC is primarily used for punishing child sexual abuse to complement the lacunae in the rape laws. India has no comprehensive law to deal with child sexual abuse and it is S.377 of the IPC that is used in such cases.

    Justice Arijit Pasayat in Mihir Bhikari Charan Sahu v. State[1] said that “Unnatural carnal intercourse is abhorrent to civilized society. It is recognized as a crime and punishable with a strict sentence. Unlike rape under S.376, consent of the victim is immaterial.”

    He also observed that “the offence given under S.377 of the IPC, implies sexual perversity. No force appears to have been used…either notions of a permissive society nor the fact that in some countries homosexuality has ceased to be an offence has influenced our thinking.”

    Moreover the IPC itself has inbuilt safeguards in S. 389. This section clearly provides against the misuse of S.377 or harassment of the homosexual community by the police or society in general. S.377 of the IPC is intended to apply to situations not covered by the other provisions of the penal code and there is neither occasion nor necessity for declaration of the said section as unconstitutional.

    The purpose of law is to maintain a healthy environment in society. An offence is offence and that consent is immaterial as also the place of commission – public/private. The freedom guaranteed by the constitution is subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of public order, decency or morality. Indulgence in unnatural sexual activities against the order of the nature is polluting the entire society by encouraging others to indulge and abet in this crime, S.377 of the IPC, the law which strives to preserve the morality, rich culture and traditional heritage of India, should not be repealed.

  8. The Europeans, who colonized with the cross in one hand and the sword in the other, competed frantically with each other in order to control the balance of power in western civilization.

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, officially recognized by the United Nations only 50 years ago, has taken a giant step in India today. There will be no turning back, and much more liberation is needed, especially if we focus on gay issues, which we rightly do.

    It is tempting to blame ourselves for the harm done by our ancestors and most difficult to strike a balance because we also need to be proud of our heritage. Each of us needs to come to terms with ourselves, and I for one have often found it quite challenging.

    The fact remains that I am very happy with this news and I do agree with entirely with Scott Long of HRW. In fact, I believe we and India will soon be singing jubilation!

  9. I don’t hold with these sentiments of ‘post-colonial guilt’. The British Empire may have had its imperfections but overall our former colonies benefited greatly from our much fairer justice system and the dedication of our civil officersto improve education, health, transport, trade, agriculture and housing.

    Of course the anti-sodomy laws were an exception to this, but it is ridiculous to judge history from our own 21st century perspective. Where as we de-criminalised homosexuality over 40 years ago, the former colonies have had between 40 and 60 years (in India’s case) to legislate for equality. A few very have but most like Jamaica, Nigeria, India etc have chosen not to. Their backwardness has nothing to do with Britain or British cultural values – it stems from their own cultural and religious values. The judgement in Delihi should be warmly welcomed as a first step to catch up with social values of most of the western world, hopefully the government will implement the Court’s ruling.

  10. Very good news. India is showing it should be respected as a leading nation of freedom and human rights, I hope this continues.

  11. Welcome India, to the civilised world, at last.

  12. @Thomas: Of course British hold responsibility for it. The laws still remained there because there is no reason to repeal it unless someone complains about it… which happened now apparently.

    Since we’re talking about silly British laws, there’s also no kissing and holding hands in public lol

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