Back to square one with SC verdict, say LGBT activists

New Delhi, Dec 11: As the Supreme Court Wednesday pronounced as criminal offence the consensual sex between adults of the same gender, activists and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community said they were dejected, but determined to continue their fight.

There was no constitutional room for change in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that holds the same gender sexual relationship against the order of the nature as an offence, the apex court ruled Wednesday morning.

Expressing disappointment and shock, gay activist Ashok Row Kavi said: “With this verdict, we are back to square one. But we will fight for our rights. It is essential to note that this has nothing to do with morality and religion.”

“We are just asking for inclusive rights in the society. This is just a type of orientation a lot of people are involved in. We are not doing anything on the roads,” he added.

Labelling the judgment a betrayal to the LGBT community, activist Sohini Ghosh said: “I see the judgment today (Wednesday) not just as a betrayal to the LGBT community, but a betrayal to the values that are enshrined in the constitution.”

“We have just come out after hearing the judgment, and are in no position to speak about it at the moment. We have a very good team of lawyers and will figure out what is to be done. The only thing that I want to say is that fight will go on, and we will fight till the bitter end,” she said.

Blaming the judicial system and the government for delaying the issue, Pallav Patankar from the Humsafar Trust feels that the verdict is a big blow to the community.

“Where are we taking this? It is the same government which is supporting programmes for the HIV movements, and one of the affidavits was from the National AIDS Control Organisation. We do not have clarity as to where we are going,” he said.

“The Supreme Court has put the decision back to parliament, and the reason it went to the SC was because parliament refused to discuss issues related to alternate sexuality. There is a need to address the issue. As a sexual minority in this country, I expected the SC to stand up for me, which it has not done,” he said.

“They are making a large population of their country criminalised citizens knowingly. And the judges (Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhayay) have taken the onus of doing that on themselves,” Patankar said.

IANS