Given that there is tentative support in Parliament for Section 377’s repeal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should lead the initiative for getting rid of this vestige of colonialism which is discriminatory to Indians and against the spirit of our Constitution. – TOI Editor
India disappointingly chose to support a Russian sponsored resolution at the UN, which sought to overturn this organisation’s decision to provide the same benefits for same-sex spouses of its staff as to spouses in heterosexual marriages. In doing so India joined the ranks of a clutch of illiberal nations such as Saudi Arabia, while 80 countries opposed the resolution. However this shouldn’t lead to despair, particularly in a week when the Supreme Court struck a blow for a liberal society by striking down the draconian Section 66A of the IT Act. In keeping with this spirit, NDA and other political parties should push repeal of Section 377 of IPC.
India’s case in supporting the Russian resolution has been rationalised by our government as a decision influenced by administrative issues at the UN. However, as long as Section 377 remains in statute books, this explanation will remain unconvincing. Section 377 was the outcome of morality that prevailed in the Victorian world. Our parliamentarians should be guided by the morality underpinning modern India’s Constitution. A law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation clearly runs counter to the philosophy of the Constitution.
Getting rid of Section 377 is not necessarily a radical departure for Indian government. UPA-II indirectly supported its repeal. This government in 2012 told Supreme Court that it accepted the correctness of a Delhi high court verdict which concluded that Section 377 was at odds with the spirit of the Constitution. Given that there is tentative support in Parliament for its repeal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should lead the initiative for getting rid of this vestige of colonialism which is discriminatory to Indians and against the spirit of our Constitution. We deserve better. – Times of India, 27 March 2015