Dhol tasha and celebrations all day as Pune welcomes SC verdict on Section 377 decriminalising homosexuality
Celebrations broke out across the city minutes after the Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, effectively decriminalising homosexuality, as activists and LGBT people welcomed a verdict that affirmed their right as citizens.
Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community were waiting for a judgment that was reserved after hearings in June.
“I want to jump and dance right now! We are planning to organise a dhol tasha and celebration today! Now the whole agenda is to gather the community in one place! No serious talk, we will probably all dance our hearts out,” said Shyam Konnur, a member of the community.
A transgender, Sonali Dalvi, added, “I’m so happy! I feel like I won after so many years of struggle. This is what we wanted all along. Party, jashan, and celebration all over. Now in India we are not criminals. Marriages, child adoption, property are still issues, but we had a massive win. I never thought I’ll see this day in my lifetime. Everyone around me was sure that it will be in our favour, but I was slightly nervous. Now I want to give advertisements in matrimonial! To my friends who used to say that we should go to the US and get married, I used to ask them why should I, an Indian, do that? I belong to the land of Tilak and like Swaraj is my birthright, equality is my birthright too.”
In four separate but concurring verdicts, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India, ruled that the section failed to make a distinction between consensual and non-consensual acts. “Any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates fundamental rights,” said Chief Justice Dipak Misra, as he read out the operative portion of the top court’s verdict that struck down Section 377 to the extent that it penalised consensual sexual relationship between two adults.
“The last time it was decriminalised and re-criminalised, I was barely 18. Now I’m happy. But we have seen how such a judgement can be turned on its head. My first reactions are very paranoid. For people who can go out and be whoever they want to be, I’m very happy. Even two weeks before the verdict, we had a lot of negative comments. I’m concerned about how we are going to combat all the hate that is going to be spewed,”
said a city-based musician and teacher, requesting anonymity.