India's Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the nation's 157-year-old law banning homosexual acts in a historic ruling that dismissed the British colonial-era tenet as "irrational, arbitrary and incomprehensible".
Prof.Bhim Singh expressed not only surprise but shock on this judgment by five-judge bench of the Supreme Court opening the gates of freedom of sex with same gender which has been described and taken as uncivilized, unnatural and unacceptable not only by Indian Penal Code but by all cultural, social beings which constitute the civilization of the world.
Welcoming Thursday's verdict Ashok Row Kavi, Founder Chairperson of The Humsafar Trust, said in a press statement, "We waited 18 years for this but it was worth every minute to be finally free of Section 377".
The bench said the other aspects of Section 377 of the IPC dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children would remain in force. Though the decision technically only applied to the Delhi region, it was quickly overruled by the Supreme Court in 2013, following a petition launched by a loose coalition of Christian, Hindu and Muslim groups.
The SC Judge, who was part of bench that made a decision to decriminalise gay sex, questioned the government for not taking a call on sensitive issues such as the recent challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
Taking note of the Centre's submission that other issues like gay marriages, adoption and ancillary civil rights of LGBTQ community should not be dealt, the court said it was not considering all these issues. We are exclusively on consensual acts between man-man, man-woman. All these factors, coupled with the fact that Justice D Y Chandrachud was the one who delivered the main judgement on the right to privacy and has been vocal about LGBTQ rights as well, has instilled new confidence among the members of the community.
He said the denial of right to sexual orientation was akin to denial of right to privacy and the society can not dictate sexual relationship between consenting adults as it was a private affair.
Anwesh Pokkuluri, another petitioner, said, "Based on how the proceedings have gone, we do not see how they can uphold (the ban)". "We saw that in 377 where the government told us that we are leaving this to the wisdom of the court and this "wisdom of the court" was too enticing a principle for me not to respond so I responded in my judgment the other day".
"The right to live with dignity has been recognised. NALSA was reiterated by at least three of them-Justice Mishra, Justice Chandrachud and Justice Nariman", said Ranganathan. "Sexual orientation is natural and people have no control over it". So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights!
"It was a law that propagated homophobia", said Keshav Suri, one of the petitioners against Section 377, who organised a Bollywood-style dance show and champagne party at his family's luxury Delhi hotel to celebrate the court victory.