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The Indian Supreme Court verdict on section 377. On the wrong side of history

in INDIA, 11/12/2013

The Indian Supreme Court has decided to re-criminalises same sex sexual activities between consenting adults.

11 December 2013 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Indian Supreme Court verdict on section 377
On the wrong side of history

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association joins its member organisations and the Indian LGBTI community in general in their feelings of disappointment and betrayal on this very sad day, as the Supreme Court overturns the ground-breaking ruling of the New Delhi High Court of four years ago, when Chief Justice A. P. Shah of the Delhi High Court said:
“If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of ‘inclusiveness’. This Court believes that the Indian Constitution reflects this value deeply ingrained in Indian society, nurtured over several generations. The inclusiveness that Indian society traditionally displayed, literally in every aspect, is manifest in recognizing a role in society for everyone. Those perceived by the majority as ‘deviants’ or ‘different’ are not on that score excluded or ostracized.”

The Supreme Court has decided to reject these very words and to re-criminalises same sex sexual activities between consenting adults, bringing the legacy of the British Empire back to life with its infamous section 377.

Gloria Careaga, Co-Secretary General of ILGA said: "The verdict of the Indian Supreme Court violates the rights of a large group of people - on the very day following the celebration of the International Human Rights Day! - and disgards the spirit of inclusiveness and justice of the Indian Constitution. The decision of the Supreme Court represents a hard blow not only for LGBTI people, but for all human right defenders in the world. However, our fight for the full achievement of human rights for everybody will not stop until we see a plural world where the rights and dignity of all people are respected."

While it is too early to tell what future development this issue will have either at the legislative or at the judicial level, one thing is sure: the attempt of this verdict to stop the tide of history is doomed to failure – in the last years, also thanks to the battle against section 377, the Indian LGBTI community has grown stronger and stronger and will not accept to go quietly back into the closet, but continue to fight until India will truly be the world’s largest democracy.

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