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Decriminalization of Section 377(IPC): Legalization of Consensual Love

Love is something every human being deserves to receive and spread. But barriers on love
are the denial of a basic human need. That is what makes the landmark judgement of 6
September 2018 so important. The honorary Supreme Court of India has overruled its earlier
judgement and has decriminalised consensual same-sex acts.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states that “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse
against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with
imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may
extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

According to the verdict of Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India, Section 377 no longer
criminalizes sexual acts between consulting adults. The decision was made by a five-judge
bench, consisting of the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice
Rohinton Nariman, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice AM Khanwilkar.

Section 377 has been causing not only legal but severe identity and confidence crisis among
the people. This section has been used to victimize the LGBT+ community and caused
stigmas regarding their acceptance in the society. The issue has been talked about for so long
and caused many controversies due to the polarizing views that people have. Yet people
failed to understand that such law restricted the people’s access to their fundamental human
rights. This section has been in violation of Article 14 – Right to Equality, Article 15 –
Prohibition of Discrimination, Article 19(1)(a) – Freedom of Expression and Article 21 –
Right to Life and Personal Liberty. The declaration of its unconstitutionality will be a great
stepping stone towards not only the mindset of the people but evolution of the society.

India also became the first country in South-East Asia to legalize same sex acts. This is a
huge milestone. This Section of the IPC has been in force since the colonial period in 1860.
But homosexuality has surprisingly been a part of Indian history since the ancient times. This
can be seen in our temples and scriptures, where naked women can be seen embracing each
other. Its acceptability at the time is a question, but colonial laws have also played a major
role in stigmatizing same sex in our country.

Since the judgement has finally given rights to every citizen to freely love whoever they
want, without being confined by the barriers of gender, it is about time that people start
changing their regressive and archaic opinions on the topic of Homosexuality and the LGBT+
community. The ground reality still exists that people are dominated, victimized and
outcasted because of a difference in sexual preference. Terms like ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’ and
‘homo’ are still used in a derogatory way as slurs. They are still considered to be insults when they are beautiful words that describes the love between people. Acceptability of different sexual preferences, as long as they are between consulting adults should be actively

It is shameful that this section has been used by homophobes to promote personal or political agendas. The issues that a discriminated community has faced for so long shouldn’t be used for personal gains. This creates more prejudice and toxic beliefs. Every person is equal and sexuality shouldn’t create differences among the people and aren’t grounds for

The change that has come is very important and was long overdue. Now that the law doesn’t
restrict consensual love, it is time we gather and celebrate the beauty of love. It is time that we celebrate and promote an individualistic approach towards sexuality. It is time we
celebrate and accept people as they are. That is when we’ll truly move towards UTOPIA.

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