11.12.13: A black day for the Indian Judiciary and Human Rights

Today is a black day in the history of Indian Judiciary. The Supreme Court has criminalized homosexuality again and set aside Delhi High Court’s ruling in 2009. The SC judgement on Article 377 is a step backwards and is a barbaric and medieval act. It only shows how regressive world’s largest democracy is. We are going back to Barbarism in 2014 when we deny basic human rights to all the citizens irrespective of their gender and sexuality. Shame on you Supreme Court, shame on you.

Section 377 was introduced by the British Rulers 153 years back, who were under the influence of Victorian morality and values in regard to family and the procreative nature of sex. The Indian society prevalent before the enactment of the IPC had a much greater tolerance of homosexuality than its British counterpart, as it was not a reflection of the existing Indian values and traditions. Although the British read down this section and decriminalized homosexuality in 1967, it took India 62 years after independence to take this landmark decision. It was still a welcome and historic moment when the Delhi High Court read down Section 377 and decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. After such a progressive act by the Delhi HC in 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision was expected to be positive till yesterday. It was hoped that after SC reads down Section 377, it will just take a couple of years when same sex marriages would be legalized in India and the future of LGBTQI community seemed to be bright. After all, we saw Pride Marches happening in every big city, more people coming out and joining in, parents, relatives, friends, supporting their loved ones and the various state police departments being tolerant and in some cases also supportive.

But, alas, we hoped too much. Too much from the world’s largest democracy. Too much from an emerging economic power. Too much from a country that is proud of it’s rich culture. Yesterday was Human Rights Day, and today the Supreme Court showed us “all humans are equal, but some are less equal than others”. The constitution calls our nation a secular state and still we succumb to the pressure of various religious leaders and take such a retrograde step. Why is it that religion likes to control sex? What one does in private with a consenting adult shouldn’t be a matter of religion. Then we have those who claim to ‘cure’ homosexuality. Baba Ramdev has greeted the judgement and asked all homosexuals to visit him and attend his sessions to have a ‘better’ life and get rid of this ‘bad addiction’.

As John Lennon once said, “We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight”. So homosexual sex between two consenting adults is illegal while it is perfectly legal to rape your legally married wife. The SC doesn’t want to recognize marital rape as domestic violence because it contradicts with our traditions and culture. This is what happens when a bunch of patriarchal bigots sit on our heads and have the power to tell us what to do with our genitals. Maybe, we shouldn’t call them private parts anymore as we can see, there isn’t any privacy left. They want to control whom we love and with whom we have sex. Then, why call yourself a democracy, be open and upfront about it, say it out loud that we are turning into a regressive society and a monarchy. The minimum sentence for rape is seven years while for homosexual sex life imprisonment. This says a lot about our justice system. Maybe, all women and queer people should mass apply for asylum in more tolerant countries with better human rights. The SC has proved, India: no country for women and homosexuals.

The verdict has come as a shock and exploits the fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination, violence and harassment. But today’s verdict is not the last verdict on Section 377. There will be more unless and until the SC completely reads down and deletes Section 377 from the Indian Penal Code. The verdict is a huge setback for the entire LGBTQI community but it is not just a gay issue anymore. This has become an issue of violation of human rights and people will stand up to it, be it straight or queer. One positive thing that comes out of this verdict is that more and more people will support homosexuality now, they will turn up in large numbers and the queer community will grow even stronger.

Dear SC, we are queer and we are here to stay.



19 thoughts on “11.12.13: A black day for the Indian Judiciary and Human Rights

  1. Even during Medieval age the homosexuality was quite open. Indian history talks about Homosexuality openly. It was against the western chiristianity beliefs so Britishers imposed it on India and that law has been never changed.

  2. You wrote almost everything (or maybe more) I could think of after getting the news of the verdict.

    If utter stupidity happens from the ‘elite’ part of society, we can see where we stand. There should be life-time imprisonment for placing a stupid verdict.

    I can’t imagine how quickly you organized your thoughts and wrote down this post! Hats off.

    A minor criticism: You could have put more citations using hyperlinks (like the way you did in your earlier post). E.g. Pg 168 of this link:


    and links for other moronic decisions declared by the SC.

    Does the “judgement” hyperlink work? I couldn’t open it. 😦

    Keep tapping your mighty keyboard. 🙂

    1. Thank you Himadri, as you said quite correctly this was written in haste and anger. I couldn’t research well as I wanted to write on the said day. And I just noticed that the ‘judgement’ link doesn’t work, will look into it.

  3. ‘A pen is mightier than the sword’ – you are on your way to prove this statement. Keep up your good work, Japleen. How astutely you depicted the exigency for us to unite; how perfectly you delineated the sobriety of today’s verdict, being pronounced in the 21st Century!

  4. Very well written JP! Lot of anger(justified) in there.. i just think differently on one point ..”Patriarchal bigots DONT have the power to tell us what to do with our genitals “. I wonder why people are so much concerned about SC’s denial for removing section 377….common people its your life….live it as you like it!! No one can or has the power to ban you from making decisions for yourself…..that has nothing to do with anyone else!!

    1. Thanks Apoorv, true people are not going to stop having sex just because the SC said so. But it hurts when your country doesn’t even acknowledge that you exist. Your right is snatched away from you. Now, the fight is for our rights.

  5. Well done indeed, Japleen! And it is difficult to articulate so much so quickly in the wake of something so shocking, as someone else has also pointed out…all your hard work and practice is showing. Keep going, girl! 🙂

  6. All I can say is, thank you. In the light of what the Supreme Court did, I can’t have enough of writings such as yours.

  7. But there is one thing that bothers me.
    We gained our independence something like 67 years ago and still we are looking at all these issues. When I heard of this decriminalizing gay sex in 2009 I thought “Only now it is not a criminal offense”. Now the govt is taking the youth and future back to stone age.

  8. Jp!

    The judgement makes no sense at all. Plain stupid to criminalize gay sex.
    This is a step toward communist state where the State regualtes everything.
    This is an attack on democracy whose spirit is pluralism.

    Just a couple of clarifications.

    1. The Parliament still has to discuss it beofre it is passed as law. This is only a judgement that has come about.
    2. I think you were going for socialist or communist state instead of monarchy because there are also constitutional monarchies like The Netherlands which was one of the first countries to make homosexual relationship legal as far back as 1811.


  9. The courts make judgements based on what’s in the consituition, and are not given an option to change the rules. It is upto the legislative department ( lok sabha) to make a change.

    1. Rahul is right. Even though I don’t agree with section 377, the court didn’t CRIMINALIZE GAY SEX. It just upheld the constitution and set things straight according to the constitution. It didn’t criminalize anything.

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