LGBTs welcome SC move on homosexuality plea

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Terming it a sign of positivity, the LGBT community rejoiced at the Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday to refer to a constitution bench the curative petition seeking a relook at its earlier verdict upholding the validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality.

Pallav Patankar, programme director at Humsafar Trust, an LGBT rights organisation, expressed happiness over acknowledgment of the curative petition by the apex court.

“The fact that the court has even agreed to reopen the debate is a sign of positivity. It’s like a ray of hope through a closed door,” Patankar told IANS.

He said he was hoping for government support on the matter.

“In our country, minority means religious minorities. This is unfair. It is time for the government to recognise sexual minorities as well,” he said.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur referred the matter to a five-judge constitution bench as counsel Kapil Sibal said the issue involved a question of far-reaching constitutional importance and must be heard by a five-judge bench.

Gay rights activist Harish Iyer also expressed happiness over the court move.

“The fact that the court has agreed for an open discussion on it, it takes a lot of courage. The fact is that now the community is garnering support from various sections of the society, even religious groups are now supporting this fight,” Iyer told IANS.

“They may oppose same sex people getting married, but at least they are standing with us to strike down Section 377, saying that it is a matter of privacy,” he said.

The LGBT community in India has been fighting a legal battle asking for Section 377 to be revoked on grounds that it violates human rights.

Rituparna Borah, an LGBT activist of Nazariya Foundation, slammed the government saying she has no hopes from it.

“The matter is in court now, so we are pinning our hopes with the judiciary. Except Arun Jaitley and Shaina N.C., no one else from the (Bharatiya Janata Party) party has supported the LGBT community,” Borah said.

“(Shashi) Tharoor’s private member’s bill proposing to replace Section 377 was not even heard in the winter session of parliament last December. So we have no hopes from this government,” she added.

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