In a historic move for the LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer) community in India, the Supreme Court on Thursday legalised gay sex, lifting the ban on homosexuality.
Chief justice Dipak Misra, while announcing the first judgement, said that the LGBTQ community has the same fundamental right as others and the identity of an individual is very important.
The verdict, however, kept bestiality - sexual relations with animals - as an offence.
Now that the archaic law has been struck down after it was first drafted in 1851, this is what it means for the LGBTQ community:
The Supreme Court reiterated that the LGBTQ community has the same fundamental rights as others. This means the person belonging to the LGBTQ community will be treated as others have been so far. Misra, while reading the first judgement, said that the same fundamental right as others and the identity of an individual are very important.
Gay sex is considered to be a taboo by many in socially conservative India. With this historic decision, anyone who exploits a person belonging to the community is liable to undergo legal and police procedures by the law.
Before the verdict, Section 377 had criminalised a section of the people for being a sexual minority, which had meant that anyone found breaching it, which includes promoting homosexuality was liable to be arrested and undergo police and legal proceedings.
Life with dignity
The National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA) will recognise the rights of the LGBTQ community including life with dignity. In the same vein, at the core of identity, lies the right to self-determination, CJI Misra had said.
The fear, harassment and blackmail of those under the sexual minority can now walk freely. According to reports, two people from the said community, were harassed even on being found together in a restaurant or public place. With the decriminalisation of the law, the ones who hail from this community, will have to be respected in their workplace and the society.