India’s Supreme Court overturned a law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations. The law dates back to British colonial rule and the ruling overturns 150 years of anti-LGBT legislation.
Section 377 penalized sex that was “against the order of nature” with a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Chief Justice Dipak Misra called the law “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.” The decision threw out hundreds of laws that discriminated against LGBT Indians.
Gay Indian filmmaker Faraz Ansari was in Dallas earlier this year for the South Asian Film Festival. He spoke about the current conservative, fundamentalist-Hindu government in power and the crackdown against the LGBT community. He said that homosexuality was de-criminalized in 2009 and re-criminalized again in 2013 by the current government.
In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that it was “legally unsustainable” to repeal Section 377 because only a “minuscule fraction” of India’s population was LGBT.
Last year, the court upheld a constitutional right to privacy. That ruling led to today’s reversal on the issue.
One of the people who brought the case through the courts, Arif Jafar, was arrested in 2001, charged with violations under Section 377 and spent 49 days in jail where he was beaten and humiliated every day, according to CNN.
— David Taffet