The Supreme Court of India on Thursday decriminalised homosexuality, ruling that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that made sexual acts “against the order of nature” illegal was unconstitutional. The section dates back to 1861.
The judgement came after the Supreme Court heard six petitions and interventions filed by non-governmental organisation Naz Foundation, parents of queer people and Voices Against 377, a collective of human rights groups. The petitioners urged the court to reconsider its 2013 judgement on the Suresh Kumar Koushal vs. Naz Foundation case, when it set aside a 2009 Delhi High Court order which decriminalised homosexuality. Back then, the court said that only the legislature could change laws.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy is a fundamental right, intrinsic to life and liberty. In its judgement, the Supreme Court said that sexual orientation is an “essential component of identity” and the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community are “real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine.”
On Thursday, the five-judge Constitution Bench called the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision “impermissible”. Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that that the LGBT community possesses rights like every other person, and that constitutional rights cannot be dictated by majoritarian views and popular morality. “Criminalising gay sex is irrational and indefensible,” he observed.
While commentators for and against the criminalisation of homosexual relations debated on television news channels, the Supreme Court’s decision was received with great joy and cheer on social media. And of course, the meme train has taken off in style.
Cartoonists, as always, got down to summarise the most important event of the day, with the lightest of touch.
Some Twitter users made sharp assessments on the Supreme Court’s decision and hoped for a more progressive India.
So, that settles it then. After all, love is love.