On Aug 25, 2017 DNA reported: The right to privacy and the protection of sexual orientation lies at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution, says court
It has been four years since the Supreme Court reversed a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that decriminalised Section 377 with respect to sex between two consenting adults. The four-year cloud of gloom that had descended on the LGBTQI community finally broke into a rainbow after the apex court’s landmark judgement on Thursday which declared privacy as a fundamental right.
The fact that the court said, “Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy. Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform. The right to privacy and the protection of sexual orientation lies at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution,” has given hope to the community which has suffered the indignity of homophobic persecution.
Well known LGBTQ rights activist Gautam Bhan who is a researcher and a faculty member at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements said the community welcomes SC judgement like all citizens do. “Privacy matters to everyone irrespective of their sexual orientation. But it is really great to see the lengths the apex court went to reassure members of the LGBTQI community. Instead of limiting itself to the narrow scope of saying that the state shouldn’t bother with what happens between mutually consenting adults in the privacy of four walls, it actually clubs privacy with dignity and equality by invoking Art 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution,” he said. He further added, “In doing so, it showed that its sensitivity for respecting the privacy of not only those who have a roof over their heads but also those who don’t. That is what makes the judgement special.
“Echoing these views, founder member and trustee of The Humsafar Trust and founder festival director of Kashish (South Asia’s biggest and India’s only mainstream queer film festival) Sridhar Rangayan said, “I’m truly overwhelmed by the SC verdict, and the parts of the judgement which specifically mention that sexual orientation should be a guaranteed right under the Constitution. This is a big day for India’s LGBTQI community who have been fighting for their rights for over two decades. This verdict vindicates our appeal for equal rights as citizens of India. I feel truly happy and free!”