Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The unnatural ‘rights’ and wrongs

For the world the date was 11-12-13 but India was back to 1860s. The forenoon of December 13, 2011 will be remembered as one of the darkest hours of Indian judiciary. Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ganpat Singh Singhvi gave one of the most contradictory judgments by ‘setting aside’ Delhi High Court’s verdict of decriminalizing homosexuality.

Justice Singhvi, through his last judgment set the cogwheels rolling to the 19th Century which banned homosexuality as “against the law of the nature”. The judgment is being criticized for its logic.

Section 377 is an infringement of Article 14 of the Constitution which deals with the fundamental right to equality, Article 15 which deals with the fundamental right to non-discrimination and Article 21 which covers the fundamental right to life and liberty, including privacy and dignity. The judgment, in just one stroke, has turned millions of people into criminals who engage in consensual sex in the privacy of their homes.

A lot has been said about this judgment. Like one can’t bind love, or everybody has the right to choose his or her course of life. Innumerous questions have been raised on the equality of the LGBT community. But one of the biggest dangers is to the safety of the LGBT community.

We aren’t unaware of the cases of rapes, sexual assaults, extortions and other crimes against the community. Now that the risk has multiplied, the future of the community seems to be uncertain. Surprisingly the court is unmoved by the plight of the families whose members have suddenly turned into criminals if they express their love physically.

The inability to understand the essence of Section 377 is shocking. A closer look shows that the British imposed this because of the then prevailing Victorian beliefs. Sexual intercourse for the British was meant for begetting children and not for mere pleasure.

Thus, only penile vaginal intercourse was considered to be natural and any kind of penile non-vaginal intercourse was considered to be “unnatural” including penile oral and penile anal sex.

This lack of sensitivity towards a marginalised community puts at risk not only one community but also the value system of the society.  As the SC calls a section of society “unnatural” and snatches the Fundamental Rights from them because they are a “minuscule minority” the situation to me seems to be of absolute disdain. And what is more appalling is Supreme Court’s decision to not to re-consider the judgement. For some it is the age of wisdom but this judgment has made it an age of foolishness.


Post a Comment