New Delhi: On Thursday, the Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises ‘unnatural sex’ and was used to persecute members of the LGBTQ+ community. A Supreme Court constitution bench pronounced a unanimous verdict in four concurring judgments.
In his statement, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud says,
“Section 377 provides for rule by the law instead of the rule of law. The rule of law requires a just law which facilitates equality, liberty and dignity in all its facets. Rule by the law provides legitimacy to arbitrary state behaviour.
Section 377 has consigned a group of citizens to the margins. It has been destructive of their identities. By imposing the sanctions of the law on consenting adults involved in a sexual relationship, it has lent the authority of the state to perpetuate social stereotypes and encourage discrimination. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders have been relegated to the anguish of closeted identities. Sexual orientation has become a target for exploitation, if not blackmail, in a networked and digital age. The impact of Section 377 has travelled far beyond the punishment of an offence. It has been destructive of an identity which is crucial to a dignified existence.”
Read the full text of his judgment here: