On the surface, it was usual happy summers for us…I was happy to see my friend back from hostel. He was glad to be home among parents and friends. However, he didn’t mind when his parents asked him to spend time at a relative’s place. It was one horrific night for him when he was sexually assaulted, repeatedly, by his aunt. Forget about the physical and mental trauma of that 15 year old boy, there was a worse aspect! His father had knowledge of this assault, and he was sent there for ‘corrective rape’.
Without any doubt, our society needs makeover! The base of our nation’s foundation is equality, justice, and a fair life for everyone. We have had a history of pluralism, liberalism and equality in diversity long before the West had any inkling of it. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, and his counterpart in the previous UPA Government, believe gay marriages will happen, today, or in future. It’s just a question of how quickly can an evolving democracy adapt to the changing scenario. Most nations are moving towards addressing the concerns of the LGBT community, and India cannot sit back for too long to deliberate on it.
Whether it’s the most prosperous nation, like the US and the UK, or a beleaguered one like Nepal, everyone is considering the rights of a community that has faced shame over the years. When the Richie rich of the world and the economically poorer countries have scrapped the gay marriages from the criminal list, why is India taking it too long? What is so complex in it to stop police harassment of adults of same sex having consensual relationships in private?
The Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgment, decriminalizing section 377 and legalising gay marriages, was challenged in the Supreme Court by religious bodies. Consequently, the Supreme Court has shut down that small window for gay rights boldly opened by the High Court. In 2013, the Supreme Court held that Section 377 of Indian Penal Code would provide punishment for gay sex and it is constitutionally valid! This is weird… If we think practically, Supreme Court is not in sync with equality. Alternative sexual preferences have been the truth of life for ages.
Jaitley and Chidambaram believe that the SC should not have reversed the Delhi High Court order de-criminalizing same sex marriages. They speak of freedom of choice. Supreme Court is not almighty, and at the same time, the Government has every right to legislate a de-criminalising Bill. But no one is doing anything.