A petition by dancer NS Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur will be taken up for hearing by the Supreme Court on June 29.
The significance of this petition is that it has been filed by LGBT individuals themselves. The petition also marks a public admission of their sexual preferences by certain members of the LGBT community.
The petition’s first paragraph is a bold declaration: “The petitioners are lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGBT) citizens of India whose rights to sexuality, sexual autonomy, choice of sexual partner, life, privacy, dignity and equality, along with the other fundamental rights guaranteed under Part-III of Constitution, are violated by Section 377.”
Union Minister for Law and Justice Sadananda Gowda said the decision in this regard will be taken by the Supreme Court on what stand the Central Government needs to take as the matter is subjudice.
“Our lives have been inexorably constricted and our rights infringed by Section 377. Despite our achievements and contributions to India in various fields, we are being denied the right to sexuality, the most basic and inherent of fundamental rights. Section 377 renders us criminals in our own country. Section 377 criminalises the very existence of LGBT people by criminalising their sexuality, an attribute which is as inherent and intrinsic to a person as their race or gender. Sexuality lies at the core of a human being’s persona. Sexual expression, in whatever form, between consenting adults in the privacy of a home ought to receive protection of fundamental rights.”
According to TOI report, Congress leader and prominent lawyer Kapil Sibal, and Arvind Datar will argue for the petitioners in court. The 716-page petition, including annexures, has been drafted by a team of lawyers including Saurabha Kripal, Arundhati Katju, Himanshu Suman and Menaka Guruswamy.
The SC had also accepted a curative petition filed by Naz foundation and referred the issue to a 5-judge bench, saying that ‘important constitutional issues’ have been raised in the curative petition.