So if you’re Indian or have tons of Indians friends, I bet your Facebook feed like mine is full of Supreme Court bashing posts. So instead of bothering you on Facebook, I’m just going to leave my incoherent ramblings here.
For those you who are unaware, the SC of India today ruled that a colonial-era law banning gay sex (section 377 of the Indian Penal Code) should not have been struck down by the Delhi High Court in 2009 and reinstated that become illegal again.
At the onset, it’s really sad that the SC held the validity of section 377 which criminalises sex against the order of nature. But if you read into their statement, they were just upholding the constitutional validity of the section and that it was up to the parliament to change the law. Ok, Fair enough.
But wait…so you’re telling me the Indian parliament, is now responsible for changing the law? Really, those guys? And given that India may just have a Hindu nationalist party coming into the parliament next year, things suddenly look awfully bleak!
But then there’s something else that bothers me. The court actually sided with an archaic British law that was written in the 1861. And this makes me feel we’re still under the British Raj. So LGBT rights have progressed in the UK and western world but we’re still holding onto their anachronistic laws from the 19th century. Why? Whatever happened to our own views and freedom? Why is this ancient foreign law still dictating our lives? Why haven’t we updated our governing rules?
The least the SC could have done was to decriminalised the section. I mean, no one is asking them to make gay marriage legal, just let two consenting adults do what they want behind closed doors. No one has been convicted under this section in the last 20 years and I don’t see if anyone in the future will ever be. So, if societal pressure wasn’t enough the LGBT community, there’s a criminal aspect involved to it.
But then again, here is where it makes a little bit more sense – this law covers all forms of unnatural sex. So removing it entirely have have other unwanted consequences, as an HT article points out that most cases for child abuse come under section 377 and no cases in 2009 were registered under mutual consent. So technically, the SC was protecting the rights of millions of children while it pronounced its statement. And correct me if I am wrong, the SC cannot alter this law, only the parliament can.
Anyway, in my opinion it’s not just about consensual gay sex at this moment, it’s about getting your laws in line with times. Societies change. Norms change. People change. Values change. And the laws need to keep that in mind. Look around, there are countries moving towards more accepting and modern laws. Heck, Nepal legalised homosexuality in 2007! And today, Uruguay legalised a marketplace for marijuana.
So stop with this SC bashing and get on with telling them towards updating certain ancient laws (does anyone watch Parks & Recreation?). I don’t want this kind of negative attention to dub Indian as a land of homophobic rapists!
Anyway on a lighter note, I’d urge the SC, BJP and all those idiots wanting to criminalise gay sex to heed to the words of the ever wise Russell Peters, “I was like dad we’ve got a population crisis over there. We could use a couple if homos in India right now!”