NLSIU-drafted review plea on gay sex to be heard in SC today

A few individuals from the City involved in filing the review petition challenging the recent Supreme Court judgement on criminalising gay sex, will have their fingers crossed on Tuesday.

The petition, which will be heard in the chambers of the judge on Tuesday, has been drafted by a professor and a few students of National Law School of India University (NLSIU).

Soon after the Supreme Court gave its verdict on the matter on December 11, 2013, a professor of NLSIU, along with three of his research students, immediately decided on the next course of action by filing a review petition seeking to stay the order or be heard in open court. They were doing so on behalf of a number of parents of LGBT persons and were helped by the City-based Alternative Law Forum in the effort.
The review petition, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, lists a number of points on which a review is required. In its judgment on December 11, 2013, the court had ruled that only a small per cent of country’s population consisted of lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgender, and that their prosecutions “could not be made a basis for challenging the validity of Section 377.”

This, the petition states, is a violation of the concept of fundamental rights that ensures human rights for all, irrespective of numbers. The judgment, according to the petition, also fails to consider prior arguments and evidences and concludes there are insufficient factual evidences to prove that this section of the society is being discriminated by the State, its agencies or the society at large. It also says the judgment fails to consider that upholding Section 377 violates Article 14 (equality before and equal protection of law), Article 15 (that prohibits discrimination on any grounds) and Article 21 (protection of life and liberty) of the Indian Constitution.
“In fact, after the judgment, cases of police harassment were reported from places like Haveri, Hassan, Madurai and states of West Bengal and Jharkhand. We even attempted to get in touch with many of these victims who were harassed,” said Professor Kumal Ambasta who drafted the petition.  

Between 2011-2012, Shekhar Seshadri, psychiatrist from Nimhans, conducted a study on the mental heath of transgenders taking into account the “psychological autopsy data” of 42 transgenders who had committed suicide, and of 150 others who were living. The study found a direct correlation between social stigmatisation and harassment with suicides. Representing such scientific arguments of prominent mental health professionals from around the country in the case, Seshadri filed an affidavit in favour of the review petition. “Far from being a pathology, homosexuality is natural and normal. The problem is not in the person’s orientation but in the tendency of the society to attach a stigma to it. This stigma is directly at odds with the scientific stand,” said Seshadri.

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