Younger politicos veto SC judgment
The new generation of politicians made public their disappointment with the apex court's decision to criminalise gay sex; meanwhile, activists are looking for their support to help change the laws
The Supreme Court’s (SC) judgment on Wednesday might have disheartened the members of the LGBT community, but politicians seem to be in their favour. After the SC set aside the 2009 High Court ruling and once more criminalised physical homosexual relations, it had noted that the Parliament should debate and discuss the matter and amend Section 377 as it was the legislature’s mandate to do so.
These very same lawmakers have issued their full support for the LGBT community, at least in public. “The same SC that was so wise yesterday on lal battis has disappointed us today with its verdict on Sec 377? It is about personal choice, SC,” said Milind Deora on Twitter.
Deora is an MP from south Mumbai and is the Minister of State for two portfolios IT and Communications, and Shipping. The statement came minutes after the Supreme Court issued its decision. Priya Dutt, MP from Mumbai North West and Deora’s Congress colleague wrote on the site, “Setting aside of HC judgment major setback for #GayRights. Penal provisions of Sec 377 infringe on right to life, Parliament must scrap it.”
Even the BJP joined in the protest. Poonam Mahajan, national secretary of BJP told MiD DAY, “Homo, hetero, metro we might have divided the definition of sexuality. But one thing is common; we are all humans. Equality in choosing sexuality is our right. The decision is regressive for a progressive nation.”
Various politicians, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, also came out in support of the gay rights. Though most of them had kept mum on the issue, the sudden voicing of opinions has raised the hopes of gay rights activists, who plan to meet the politicians to argue their case. “As an exercise, we will surely go to the politicians, and talk to them. We will ask them to include our issues in their manifestos. The younger generation of politicians is supporting us, but the senior ones are still wary of gay rights.
Even in countries where gay rights have been acknowledged, it has taken a long time, and a generation has passed. We are happy that the leaders acknowledged gay rights and if the section is scrapped, we would be elated. Let’s see what happens. We haven’t yet gotten the time to sit and discuss the issue,” said Pallav Patankar, director of HIV programmes at The Humsafar Trust, an NGO working for LGBT rights.