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India judge: It was a ‘mistake’ to recriminalise homosexuality

Nick Duffy December 13, 2015

A prominent former judge in India has hit out at the decision to re-criminalise homosexuality in the country.

Justice Ajit Prakash Shah was serving as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court at the time of a landmark 2009 case, which led to the country’s colonial era sodomy law being thrown out.

Justice Shah ruled that Section 377 of the country’s penal code criminalising ‘against the order of nature’ was unconstitutional – but the law was put back into effect by the country’s Supreme Court in 2013.

According to The Hindu, the retired justice and head of the Law Commission delivered a lecture to the India International Centre calling for the Supreme Court to think again.

Noting that the political mood has shifted on the issue, he added: “Today, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to correct the mistake it made [in 2013] and redeem its glorious status as the protector of fundamental rights, by asserting that when it comes to the dignity of the individual and the fraternity, constitutional morality should trump religious and social morality.

He added that it is wrong an entire class of people have been forced to live “in the shadow of the law, in fear, and in oppression… told that their idea and expression of love was against the very order of nature”.

“Why should someone’s fundamental life choices conditioned by other people’s prejudice, ignorance and stigmatisation?

“Why should a sizable population of Indians be treated as criminals simply for accepting who they are.”

He noted an amount of tacit support for bids to undo the law, adding: “The political climate is not averse to the idea of change as many think it to be.”

More: Asia, court, Gay, Homosexuality, India, India, Law, LGBT, Sexuality

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