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Legalization of Homosexuality in India – Coming Soon?
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of December 1st, 2015) On November 28, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked the Supreme Court in India to legalize homosexuality once again. The Court had rejected such rulings already in December 2013 and in 2014.
Arun Jaitley’s motives were based on personal reasons but he expressed the request in a solemn way.
Delhi Queer Pride organized the 8th Gay Pride edition on November 29, 2015 and requested to repeal section 377, the provision against homosexuality. They also asked for recognition of transsexuals’ personal rights, which is in accordance with a law upheld by the Supreme Court.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party BJP oppose such legalization efforts, and some even call homosexuality a “genetic disorder” – even though individual politicians consider the criminalization of homosexuality as questionable.
Several opposition parties would support a law project to legalize homosexuality.
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, president and vice president of the Indian parliament, would also like to abolish such an “archaic, repressive and unjust law.”
History of homosexuality in India
Since the British colonial times (1860), section 377 of the Indian penal code has prohibited homosexuality and punished it with prison sentence up to 10 years. The section is still in effect today but is no longer applied. However, it still serves the police as a pretense to harass LGBT persons, sex workers and transsexuals today.
The Higher Court of Delhi considers this section as unconstitutional but the Indian Supreme Court has found that only the parliament has the competence to abrogate this obsolete law.
“When millions of people world over are having alternative sexual preferences, it is too late in the day to propound a view that they should be jailed. The Delhi high court's view appears more acceptable.”
Arun Jaitley, Indian Finance Minister
This may not sound overly enthusiastic or militant but it still points in the right direction. Let’s hope that there will soon be a legislative initiative to abrogate this homophobic section of the penal code.