Article 377 was introduced in the Indian Criminal Code in 1861. According to the law, sexual activities “against the order of nature” were considered illegal. Although the prohibition of same-sex homosexual sex was revoked by the Supreme Court of India in September 2018, some sections of section 377 are still in force.
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This article on Article 377 will give you full details on Article 377 of the Criminal Code of India; who challenged the Section in court; What problem has the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community encountered as a result of section 377; recent decision of the Supreme Court on the revocation of section 377, etc.
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Article 377 of the Indian Criminal Code entered into force at the end of the 19th century, at the time of British rule. A similar act existed in Britain at one time. It is the Buggery Law of 1533 that was approved by the Parliament of England under the reign of Henry VIII. According to the act, unnatural sexual acts against God’s will were punishable. The same was applicable in accordance with section 377 introduced by the British.
According to section 377, same-sex sex, sexual relations with minors, bestiality and non-consensual sexual acts were unnatural acts and the law had the right to prosecute anyone who committed it. Many people have come forward to fight against this law. Petitions were filed to partially review section 377. After many rumors for decades, the Supreme Court finally legalized consensual sex between homosexual adults on September 6, 2018.
The news was received with joy and enthusiasm by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. They celebrated their new freedom throughout the country. Many political leaders and celebrities of Bollywood have expressed their support for the Supreme Court decision. However, some groups openly condemned the court’s decision. They said it was against Indian culture and was going to destroy our society.
Article 377 considered homosexuality as unnatural and punishable by law. It was the same for sexual relations with minor, bestial and non-consensual sexual acts. Members of the LGBT community have been living in India in a state of constant stress and despair since the introduction of Article 377. Numerous appeals have been made to review the part that criminalizes homosexuality. Several cases were registered and fought in court.
Here is a general description of the main petitioners who questioned this section of the Indian Criminal Code and demanded the legalization of homosexuality.
In 1994, AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan filed a motion to partially repeal section 377. This was the first petition filed in that regard.
A non-governmental organization, the Naz Foundation filed a complaint in 2001 in the Superior Court of Delhi. She asked to allow consensual relationships between gay adults. However, the court refused to consider it. The Naz Foundation then went to the Supreme Court of India. The case was sent back to the Superior Court of Delhi for reconsideration.
Navtej Singh Johar
Navtej Singh Johar is a renowned choreographer of Bharatnatyam. He filed a petition against Section 377 with his partner Sunil Mehra. He stated that this section violated the right to individual liberty, contrary to the Indian Constitution. Sunil Mehra has taken the same ideas. He said that Indians should be free to express their identity.
The owner of the Diva restaurant chain in Delhi, Ritu Dalmia, also filed a complaint against Section 377. As a lesbian, she decided to fight for the fundamental rights of people belonging to the LGBT community.
Aman Nath, the famous curator of architecture and owner of the Neemrana hotel chain, also spoke against the unfair law against the LGBT community. He was in contact with his associate, Francis Wacziarg, for more than two decades.