Mumbai: The declaration of SC yesterday that the Right to Privacy was a fundamental right, got an staggering applause by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) community.
“Thank you, Supreme Court,” was the reaction of the members. They are of the opinion that this outcome would have a far-reaching impact on their rights.
Gay rights activist Bindumadhav Khire, said, “With Right to Privacy coming under the ambit of Article 21, as a fundamental right, it will significantly boost our case, currently, pending as a Curative Petition in the Supreme Court for reading down of IPC 377, to decriminalise consensual non-procreative sex.”
Talking about Khire, he is the president of Sampathik Trust, which works towards creating awareness regarding health and related issues among the LGBT community.
After the judgement of SC four years back, in Suresh Kumar Kaushal v/s Naz Foundation case (IPC 377 case), non-procreative intercourse between consenting adults continues to be regarded as a crime.
It is worthwhile pointing out that this is applicable not just to gay sex, but also to heterosexual adult couples having consensual non-procreative sex in private.
Khire went on to add that, “The judgment in the case, filed by National Legal Services Authority, gave only socio-economic rights but did not talk of sexual rights of transgenders. Today’s judgment will help in getting these rights for transgenders.”
Another LGBT rights activist Souvik Ghosh said that this verdict comes under the category of historic when it comes to protecting a citizen’s right to live with dignity, as granted by Article 21 of our constitution. “We hope the same arguments and premises, based on which this judgment has been delivered, will be upheld in the future by the SC in favour of the curative petition on Sec 377, which is pending a hearing,” said Ghosh.
“The government is bound to find loopholes in the verdict. I heard on TV the other day that the Maharashtra government was toying with the idea of giving the police a carte blanche to enter people’s homes and check if they had stocked beef in their refrigerators. I thought then that the next thing would be for them to ring people’s doorbells to find out whom they slept with. Same sex couples would be especially vulnerable and liable to arrest, given that Section 377 of the IPC is still in force,” pointed out Noted author and poet R Raj Rao.