TheIndian EXPRESS LATE CITY, 20 + 4 (NEWSLINE) PAGES, PUNE, `5.00 ● FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM ● DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SAME-SEX RELATIONS NO LONGER A CRIME — SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS IDENTITY, DIGNITY, EQUALITY & PRIVACY Love at first right SC: History owes apology to LGBTQ From explicit No to a qualified Yes: How political community for delay in justice, class stalled, blinked centuries of ostracism, suffering ANANTHAKRISHNANG NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 6 FROMTODAY,consensualgaysex between adults in private is no longer a crime in India. Delivering a historic judgment Thursday which underlinedthesupremacyof“constitutional morality” over “societal morality”, the Supreme Court, in one stroke, scrapped a 158-yearold British-era law that banned same-sexrelationsbetweenconsentingadultsinprivateandpunishedthemwithjailtermsforlife or up to ten years. A five-judge Constitution Bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y ChandrachudandInduMalhotra, in four separate but concurring ordersonaclutchofpetitions,decriminalisedapartofSection377 of the Indian Penal Code, saying it violated the identity of an individual, the right to equality and the right to privacy — the provision will, however, continue to apply to cases of bestiality, carnal intercourse with minors and in cases of no consent. Triggering celebrations among members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgen- BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY der, queer) community, the Bench overturned a 2013 ruling oftheSupremeCourtthathadreinstated gay sex as a criminal offence after four years of decriminalisation following a Delhi High Court order. JusticeMalhotrasaid“history owesanapologytothemembers ofthiscommunityandtheirfamiliesforthedelayinprovidingredressal for the ignominy and ostracism that they have suffered through the centuries”. The Centre, deciding not to contestthepetitionschallenging Section 377, had left the decision to the “wisdom” of the Supreme Court. It did, however, ask the court not to go into other issues like gay marriages, adoption and ancillarycivilrightsof theLGBTQ community. Thejudgmentonlydealtwith decriminalisation of the provision, and did not go into into the issue of same-sex marriage but Justice Chandrachud did note it “calls for the state to recognise rightswhichbringtruefulfilment to same-sex relationships”. CJI Misra, writing for himself and Justice Khanwilkar, said: “When we say union, we do not mean the union of marriage, though marriage is a union. As a concept, union also means companionship in every sense of the word, be it physical, mental, sexual or emotional. The LGBT community is seeking realisation of its basic right to companionship, so long as such a companionship is consensual, free from the vice ofdeceit,force,coercionanddoes not result in violation of the fundamental rights of others.” But Justice Chandrachud, while discussing American case lawsallowinggaymarriages,said thatinthe2015caseofObergefell vsHodges,theUSSupremeCourt, by a 5-4 majority, ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MANOJ CG & RAVISH TIWARI NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 6 TODAY COULD have happened five years ago. Inthewinterof 2013,months aheadof theLokSabhaelections, theSupremeCourthadreversed the landmark 2009 Delhi High Court order that decriminalised same sex between consenting adults in terms similar to Thursday’s verdict. Thehighestcourthadlobbed the ball — or passed the buck depending on which side was speaking — to the political class asking it to legislate a suitable provision for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community’s demand for decriminalisation of consensual same-sex between adults. Butthepoliticalclassstepped back. ThenCongresspresidentand UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi steppedouttoexpresshopethat “Parliament will address the issue”,butherpartyandgovernment dithered. Then BJP president Rajnath Singh stood in solidarity with the Supreme Courtjudgmentsaying“howcan anyone justify unnatural acts?” Cut to today. The Congress tweeted a series of statements from party leaders welcoming the SC judgment decriminalising same-sex relations between consentingadults,therewasasilence from the BJP on this issue. That silence was deafening but deceptive too given how its Government under Narendra Modi didn’t stand in the way of the historic ruling today. “The Union of India, seeing the writing on the wall, has filed an affidavit in which it has not opposed the Petitioners but left the matter to be considered by the wisdom of this Court,” Justice Rohinton F Nariman noted in his judgment today. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A MOMENT IN HISTORY, 12:42 PM, OUTSIDE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA One of the petitioners in the case, Keshav Suri (right), and his partner Cyril Feuillebois celebrate the Supreme Court verdict reading down the 158-year-old Section 377 that held same-sex relations unnatural and, therefore, criminal. Neeraj Priyadarshi On a street far away, looking at a police car in the eye: ‘Today, I am no criminal’ PREMANKUR BISWAS & DIPANKAR GHOSE NEW DELHI, RAIPUR, SEPTEMBER 6 AT 6:30 PM, on Raipur’s Marine drive, the LGBT community collected to celebrate the apex court’s verdict. A group of not more than 20, waving the rainbow flag, cut a cake, and shouted the words “freedom” and “Inquilab Zindabad.” As they hugged, and a same-sex couple kissed, some pedestrians stopped and stared. But on Thursday, it didn’t matter. About 200 m away was a police patrol car that routinely patrols the neighbourhood each day. A member of the celebration pointed to it and said: “Today I am free, because that car, that sign of the Chhattisgarh Police does not scare me. Today I can stare at it proudly, and not walk past with my eyes lowered. Today, I am not a criminal.” That sentiment was echoed earlier in the day when the verdict came, when a group of 10 people sat in front of the TV at a government Social Welfare Department hostel, watching channels cut to images of groups of fifty, hundred, even 500 people waving rainbow flags in Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, making their voices heard. As they glanced around the room, each knew that in Raipur, they were only ten. Their sense of belonging had been hard fought, in fierce battles in both the private and public space. And then at 11.30 am, came the verdict. “At 11.15, I was a criminal. At 11: 30, I’m free. It’s been a long time coming,” said Vidya Rajput, one of the most prominent transgender rights activists in Chhattisgarh. “There is a long way to go. But today, maybe even people in small towns and states will wake up and realise that we too are people, and we deserve to live and love.” Like Indranee Kalita. She is patient while spelling out her surname. “It’s K-A-L-I, like the goddess, with T-A following it,” she says. She knows that most non-Assamese are unfamiliar with this surname. “I don’t think my name will ever appear in print again,” laughs Kalita. Maybe, the 25-year-old queer activist from Tezpur is right. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SUPREME VERDICT THE EDITORIAL PAGE READING THE ORDERS EXPLAINED, WHAT NEXT A SOARING MOMENT: VICTORY FOR INDIVIDUAL, MINORITY RIGHTS, HOW ALL JUDGES AGREED BUT EACH HAD A KEY ARGUMENT, PAGE 8 COURT’S NEW MANTRA: CONSTITUTIONAL MORALITY, PAGE 12 PAGE 11 2+2 dialogue: India-US sign key Five activists to remain under house defence deal, talk visa and terror arrest till Sep 12: Supreme Court BHIMA KOREGAON VIOLENCE SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 6 WORLD, P 10 Two Russians named in Skripal poisoning: UK STRENGTHENING STRATEGIC cooperation, India and the US Thursday signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) which paves the way for transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that will facilitate “interoperability” between their forces — and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secured data links. The pact was inked after the first 2+2 dialogue between the two countries, where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met visiting American counterparts, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan. While there are more than 50 bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two governments, this is the highest level of engagement after the summit-level engagement between the Prime Minister and the US President. A joint statement said, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESSNEWSSERVICE NEWDELHI,SEPTEMBER6 THEFIVEactivists,PVaravaraRao, VernonGonsalves,ArunFerreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, who were arrested in connectionwiththeinvestigation into the Bhima-Koregaon violencewillremainunderhousearrest till September 12 when the SupremeCourtwillhearthematternext.AbenchheadedbyChief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Thursday said it will first examine“howfarwecangointothis”. Appearing for the Maharashtra government, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the petitioners were strangers to the matter and could not be allowed to intervene in a criminal case. ButlawyersappearingforpetitionersRomilaThaparandothers countered this, saying that families of some of the victims had also filed affidavits and “this was now as good as a petition by people under house arrest”. Appearing for the complainant, whose complaint was the basis for the FIR in the case, senior advocate Harish Salve told the CONTINUEDONPAGE2 MAHARASHTRA, P 3 Violence could have been caused by third group: Govt
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.