India remains divided on the issue of criminalisation of homosexuality as the world observes National Coming Out Day (NCOD) on Wednesday.
Founded in the United States in 1988, NCOD is an annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) awareness day observed in October to promote gay rights.
The Supreme Court in December 2013 struck down a landmark ruling by the Delhi high court that found Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code prohibiting “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” infringed the fundamental rights of Indians. In February 2016, the top court agreed to re-examine the colonial-era law and referred the matter to a five-judge bench.
Here are some prominent Indian personalities who have condemned or supported the top court’s ruling.
People against the ruling:
Congress member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor has been an open advocate of LGBTQ rights. His bill seeking to amend Section 377 has been twice defeated in the Lok Sabha. Tharoor’s bill aims to decriminalise sexual intercourse in private between consenting adults, irrespective of their sexuality or gender.
Tharoor said it was “a low in the proud annals of Indian democracy” where “brute majority prevailed over the rights of a member” to bring the measure.
After the SC judgement, the Trinamool Congress MP tweeted that he had supported decriminalising Section 377 in 2006, along with economist Amartya Sen, writer Vikram Seth and filmmaker Shyam Benegal.
“It is surprising that independent India has not yet been able to rescind the colonial era monstrosity in the shape of Section 377, dating from 1861,” O’Brien said.