Section 377: Government Leaves Decision to the Wisdom of the Supreme Courtby Opinion Express September 7, 2018 0 comments
Petitioners Aman Nath, Ritu Dalmia, Aakash Aggarwal, and Navtej Johar talked to Team Viva about their day of freedom, independence and joy from the tag of being criminals.
With the historic ruling by the Supreme Court of India scrapping section 377, it put the country at par with other progressive nations that recognise love as it is, regardless of the sex of the partners.
The petitioners and allies rejoiced the decriminalising of gay sex and the sensitivity with which the judgement was given.
Ritu Dalmia, who was one of the petitioners, said she had put an alarm for 5.30 am in the morning since she was in the UK. A celebrity chef and owner of the niche restaurant chain Diva, Dalmia identifies as lesbian.
“When I put the petition there was just anger and the feeling that one has to do something. I am a very optimistic person. The hope was there but I never thought the judgement would be this way because this hasn’t been just about striking it down but the judgment was so progressive and so sensitive. This is something one did not expect. I am really proud of our judiciary system today,” she said. She added that it had nothing to do with the position of the petitioners, which includes LaLit hotels scion Keshav Suri, Bharatanatyam dancer Navtej Singh Johar, co-founder and co-chairman of the Neemrana Hotels chain Aman Nath and other noted individuals.
“I think it had nothing to do with the faces and names of the petitioners. The real work was done by the legal team, who fought this case amazingly. The judges were sensitive, intelligent and intellectuals. We’re a functional democracy and the whole law was absurd and a bit of a joke. When you read this judgment you get your faith back in the system,” she said.
With the legal system on their side, they community is ready to gear up to fight the social stigma, which too will be a long journey.
“It will be easy now to do counselling, workshops and activities so that there is awareness because it is legal now. The identity crisis which the community was facing is gone. We can begin addressing the issues. The next step could be allowing adoption.
There are many underprivileged children in the country and the government should be open towards adoption to LGBT community. Kids will get homes,” said Jewellery designer Aakash K Aggarwal, who identifies as homosexual.
Nath believes that with the judgement India has flushed out an outdated law after 160 years by a government that people call conservative. “India is just returning to its open, progressive morality. Finally, the love of mankind will be legal in India,” he said.
And then there was Johar, who sounded teary even during the phone call. “We’re all so overwhelmed right now. I just want to say that it was a great judgment. We’re overjoyed with it. It restored our faith in the Constitution and the Judiciary. I think right now is the time to celebrate. It’s really a wonderful thing and we’re grateful to the judges for delivering such a judgement. I still don’t know how the celebration will be. We’re just digesting it right now. It will take a while to process this,” said Johar.
The relief was palpable in their voices, about the progressive direction the country is going to and that for the future generations, who no longer have to fight and hide.
“I’m happy and relieved for the coming generations. It was a long fight. This the beginning. Now comes the responsibility. The LGBT community has to stand up as the best human race.
We have to be equal in our responsibility and be proactive towards our country and the Constitution. We are the generation and the face of the youth which wanted a change and got it too. The generation before ours kept quiet and lived in closet. The coming generation will be relieved,” said Aggarwal. He also congratulated the Modi government, “even though they kept their silence”.
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer