New Delhi, Sep 6 (UNI) The United Nations in India on Thursday welcomed the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court striking down a key component of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised specific sexual acts between adults, a law dating back to British colonial rule that has targeted in particular lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and communities.
A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, and comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Rohinton Fali Nariman, AM Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, unanimously lifted the ban on homosexuality.
‘Sexual orientation and gender expression form an integral part of an individual’s identity the world over, and violence, stigma and discrimination based on these attributes constitute an egregious violation of human rights.
‘LGBTI persons across the world continue to be the targets of violent attacks and are affected by multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination based on age, gender, ethnicity, disability and social status,’ according to an official statement issued here.
The UN in India sincerely hopes that the court’s ruling will be the first step towards guaranteeing the full range of fundamental rights to LGBTI persons, it said.
‘We also hope that the judgment will boost efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination against LGBTI persons in all areas of social, economic, cultural and political activity, thereby ensuring a truly inclusive society,’ the UN said.
The focus must now be on ensuring access to justice, including remedy; effective investigations of acts of violence and discrimination; and effective access to economic, social and cultural rights, the inter-governmental organisation said.
The Delhi High Court had on July 2009 held that sex between two consenting adults would “not be” an offence. Later on, a two-judge bench of the apex court, had set aside the Delhi High Court verdict and “criminalised” gay sex. The apex court also had subsequently dismissed the review petition in this regard.
Later, the top court in a nine-judge bench had held that privacy was a fundamental right.