LGBTQIA+

International Commission of Jurists Welcomes 'Momentous' SC Verdict on Section 377

ICJ said the ruling "effectively ends the threat to a large segment of the Indian population that they will be held criminally liable for exercising their human rights".

New Delhi: Calling it a “momentous step forward for human rights”, the International Commission of Jurists has lauded the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 377, the colonial era law which criminalised “unnatural sex”. After weeks of deliberation, the court said that the law was “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary”.

“We have to bid adieu to prejudices and empower all citizens,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, part of the five-member constitution bench, told the packed courtroom.

In a press release, ICJ said the ruling “effectively ends the threat to a large segment of the Indian population that they will be held criminally liable for exercising their human rights”.

Nevertheless, ICJ Asia Pacific Director Frederick Rawski pointed out, the landmark decision alone cannot end the discrimination the LGBTQIA+ community has to deal with. It is time for the Indian Parliament to conduct wide-ranging review of existing legal framework, repeal discriminatory laws, and address other gaps in the law that prevent LGBT persons from fully exercising their rights,” Rawski said.

In the release, ICJ states that the “court underscored that provisions of Section 377 contravened international law and standards on equality, privacy, non-discrimination and dignity guaranteed in international human rights treaties to which India is a party, which include the International Covenant Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.”

“This judgment will not only have an impact in India. Its influence should extend across the world. The ICJ hopes that it will provide an impetus for other countries, especially those of the Commonwealth of Nations, to revoke similar provisions that criminalise consensual sexual relations,” Rawski added.

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