February 2 will be a decisive day for the LGBT community as the Supreme Court on this day will be hearing a curative petition submitted by the Naz Foundation, an NGO that stands for gay rights, on Article 377 (which makes gay sex, irrespective of age and consent, a punishable offence).
Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, one of the people who signed the petition on February 23, 2014, tells us, “It will be tragic if there is no recognition of a whole section of population and their rights and if the Supreme Court judgment disregards such rights,” says Benegal.
The High court gave a sigh of relief to the LGBT community in 2009, when it struck down the provision of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised consensual sexual acts of adult in private, saying that it violated the fundamental rights of life and liberty as guaranteed by the constitution. However, the Supreme Court, in 2013, overruled the verdict.
Benegal, who has won several awards for films such as Manthan (1976), Ankur (1974) and Sardari Begum (1996), hopes for the best.
“I hope the Supreme Court follows the High Court’s judgment because that verdict had given a lot of hope and had people very positive,” he says. However, he says he is not the right person to discuss future plans about the movement, in case the ruling is not in the favour of LGBT community.
“I am not an activist for the movement, I’m just endorsing their thoughts and beliefs. If you want to know what will be the plan of action, you might want to speak with the people who are out there fighting for the rights of everyone,” he says.