No Pride Without Prejudice
Vibhuti focuses on how the essence of ‘Pride’ in society derives its foundation from the prejudices that precede it. Pride is not understood independently of the compound beliefs that misguide the being of it. Even after each landmark judgment, there are legal shortcomings that further fuel these biased notions and prejudices that cloud the carrying forward of Pride itself.
The most primary way to express inclusivity is to show respect in its original state, without any judgment or preconceived notions. Human emotions are felt extremely strongly. While they can uplift another, they can also shatter one completely. We live in a society in which any ‘change’ from the common norms and terms is considered ‘deviance.’ Several years and forward judgments later too, discrimination is based on sexuality in both subtle and significant ways. Change initially is a fresh thought process and is best manifested as acceptance and not ignorance.
“Culture,” in the simplest manner possible, can be understood as the ‘way of life’ for different groups of people. They differ from their likings and dislikings, ideas, beliefs, and notions, their partners’ simplistic understanding. The ‘power of choice’ is clouded by numerous preconceived notions that are baseless and conservative. As the phrase goes, ‘love is love’ is no secret. In a society where accepting one’s own uniqueness is an ordeal by itself, why do unrealistic expectations have to lessen their worth? Out and proud. It is completely subjective as to how and who we identify with, who we connect with. This is the power of choice, and as a community of humans, we empower one another with that asset. The choice is powerful and beautiful. Everyone is entitled to their own personal choice and now more than ever with the law by their side.
Jovial Judgments That Made History
India is a country that is the epitome of differences and uniqueness. Yet a beautiful country as ours is bound together by the Constitution. The legal book is bestowed with the responsibility to treat each person equally, irrespective of their background. The supreme law of India resolves disputes, demarcates political code, duties and delivers justice in the most neutral manner possible. However, the judiciary itself is a manufactured mechanism furled by brilliant legal minds and reputed judges, which leads to gaps in the interpretation of the LQBTQ and related issues.
Naz Foundation v Government of NCT Delhi
Popularly known as Naz Judgment is a 2009 judgment by the Delhi High Court. In this judgment, for the first time, Delhi High Court declared Section 377 to be unconstitutional. In 2009 they successfully got the Courts to declare Section 377 unconstitutional, which violates Article 14, 15, and 16 of the Indian Constitution.
Suresh Kumar Koushal vs. Union of India
2013 was a very dark year for rights in India in general and LGBTQIA rights in particular because the Supreme Court of India delivered Suresh Kumar Koushal vs. Union of India, where homosexuality was re-criminalized. The darkness was short-lived because the National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India or NALSA judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court.
For the first time in legal history, transgender people were recognized as citizens of this country. Transgender people were extended all the Fundamental Rights, and they were given the identity of the Third Gender. This case continues to be the landmark case for Transgender Rights in this country. The court laid a comprehensive set of guidelines that every State must follow to bring Transgenders into public spheres and provide remedies for their marginalization.
K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India
K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India or Puttaswamy judgment as it is popularly known is an integral judgment as it held the Right to Privacy to be integral. Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which grants us the Right to Life and Liberty, was also expanded to include the Right to Privacy.
Right to Privacy
The right to Privacy was also extended to every individual irrespective of their gender and sex. Recognition of privacy for members of the LGBTQIA community as an inalienable grants them autonomy and protection from State action while exercising their right to choose their partners. Hence, this judgment, along with the NALSA judgment, became the precursor to the reading down of Section 377 in 2018.
Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India
In the ‘Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India’ delivered in 2018 that a five-judge bench partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults. What made this case so special was that community members filed it instead of indirect representation, which increased its impact and gravitas. LGBTQ individuals are now legally permitted to engage in consensual intercourse. It was a historic day that symbolizes ‘an apology that history owed to the LGBTQ community and their kin.’ Not only did it strike down a 158-year-old controversial legal provision of Section 377, thus legitimizing same-sex relationships, it also signaled an end to prejudice which was very deep-rooted.
It is difficult to right a wrong by history. But we can set the course for the future. This case involves much more than decriminalizing homosexuality. It’s about people wanting to live with dignity. To deal with a writ petition filed by two lesbian women seeking protection from police harassment at the instance of their parents, Anand Venkatesh voluntarily underwent psycho-educational sessions and interactions with LGBTQI+ people to better understand their emotions and problems. The change has been set into motion and with the learning of the unconventional and unlearning of the regressive practices and norms thrust upon us, it’s the shout for a more Pride-Woke country and laws!
Featured graphic: Ruta Shelke
Featured writer: Vibhuti — She is a first-year law student at Symbiosis Law School, Noida. She is a writer, debater, and ardent dog-lover. Her interests lie in Human rights and making the world a better place. A sincere student, compassionate citizen, and novice runner, who is soon to get pink highlights and go on a solo trip!