Supreme Court verdict on Section 377 gives way to celebrations in Chandigarh
As soon as the Supreme Court struck down Section 377 on Thursday, there were celebrations in the LGBTQI community in the city. The apex court decriminalised consensual gay sex and people welcomed the historic verdict warmly.
The joy was evident on the social media, which was bombarded with congratulatory messages, pictures of happy faces, people hugging, flashing victory sings, congratulating each other and dancing.
One of the main petitioners in the case is Navtej Singh Johar (59), a renowned classical dancer and winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He moved the Supreme Court in 2016, pleading that Section 377 violated the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.
Terming the judgment as “monumental verdict”, Johar said: “We are overjoyed. It just happened a few hours ago and we are taking some time to digest it. This judgment has restored our faith in the judiciary and the Constitution. Let’s celebrate! It’s a very big step in the right direction. A very happy moment for all of us!”
When asked what was the trigger for moving the petition, he said “It had to be changed and that was it”.
“I am in a relationship and we both are very happy and relieved with this verdict. Last month, while I was walking with my friends in Sector 17, police took us to police station just because I am feminine and was wearing make-up. They threatened to file a case against us under Section 377. But now, no one can torture us,” said Pramod Kumar, a 20-year-old social health worker.
“It is a historic day. Now, we need not fear anyone and can live with pride. Earlier, we (people from the community) were bullied by police as well as by some in the society. But now, the law is on our side. We are very happy,” said Pardeep Kumar, who works for an NGO.
Dhananjay Chauhan, president, LGBT Pride and Saksham Trust, said, “Due to Section 377 thousands of people suffered as the law was against us. Today, the law is with us and we can seek protection from the police. But, it is just a beginning and we have a long way to go.”
Dr Sandeep Mittal, deputy director, Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society (CSACS), said, “The order will help us in reaching out to people from the LGBTQI community. Earlier, they used to remain aloof and won't come forward.”