In a landmark decision, Delhi High Court today legalized homosexuality in India, thereby giving a happy ending to the long struggle of the gay community and gay rights activists. While ruling against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), that considered homosexual relations as a crime, the courts today gave their stamp of approval for the consensual gay sex.
During the closing of the verdict, Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S Muralidhar stated that Section 377 of the IPC was in direct violation of the Constitution of India, as this section of the IPC denied equal opportunities and civil rights to the gay community. In their statement, the bench of judges said,
“We declare Section 377 of IPC in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private is violative of Articles 14, 21 and 15 of the Constitution.”
However, Section 377 of the IPC is still valid and would criminalize any and all acts of non-consensual and non-vaginal sex. The Delhi High Court has stated the decision to make homosexuality legal will stand unchanged, till the time Indian Parliament amends it.
In the judgment that expands to more than 105 pages, the justice bench stated,
“In our view Indian Constitutional Law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconception of who the LGBTs (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster dignity of every individual”