The Supreme Court has decided to scrutinize SIT’s closing of 241 cases related to 1984 Anti-Sikh riots
However, the Court dismissed another PIL investigating Kashmiri Hindu Killings in 1990 stating that it has been 27 years since the tragedy
Kashmiri Pandit Community’s representative ‘Roots in Kashmir’ has filed a petition against this decision
New Delhi, August 24, 2017: The Supreme Court of India recently decided that it will scrutinize the decision of the Special Investigation Team to close down 241 cases that were related to the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots.
However, in a different decision, the Apex court rejected PIL that urged the investigation of 1990 Kashmiri Hindu killings. The court stated that the case is 27 years old.
These distinct responses coming from the Apex court have been questioned by “Roots in Kashmir”, the representative of Kashmiri Pandits.
On 24 July, D Y Chandrachud along with CJI J S Khehar dismissed the PIL for investigating Kashmiri Hindu Killings because “the instances referred to in it pertain to 1989-90, and more than 27 years have passed.”
Roots in Kashmir has branded this hypocrisy on the part of the Court as absolute “travesty of justice.”
The 1984 Anti-Sikh riots are about 33 years old whereas the court dismissed an investigation for a tragedy that is 27 years old. These are the questions that the councel of Roots in Kashmir, Vikas Padora aims at the Supreme Court.
Previously, Padora had questioned the jury bench as to why not a single case out of 215 total registered cases was investigated by Jammu and Kashmir Government. But his powerful speech was snubbed and labeled ‘political’ by the CJI.
The Kashmiri Pandit leaders intend to file a review petition against the decision of the court to dismiss the PIL.
Roots in Kashmir seeks justice for the relatives of the hundreds of Hindus that were slaughtered in the valley.
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394
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In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised homosexuality between consenting adults by declaring Section 377, the penal provision which criminalised gay sex, as “manifestly arbitrary”.
In separate but unanimous verdicts, a five-judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as unconstitutional.
The bench said it is no longer an offence for LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community to engage in consensual sex between two adults in private.
Reading out the judgment, Chief Justice Misra said attitudes and mentality have to change to accept others’ identity and accept what they are, and not what they should be.
“It is the constitutional and not social morality which will prevail,” said the court.
The verdict sparked celebrations in the LGBTIQ community across India even as the judgment was being read out. Many of the community members who had assembled outside the apex court jumped in joy and distributed sweets.
Chief Justice Misra said consensual sex between adults in a private space, which is not harmful to women or children, cannot be denied as it is a matter of individual choice.
Section 377 will not apply to consensual same-sex acts between homosexuals, heterosexuals, lesbians, the court said, clarifying that sexual act without consent and bestiality will continue to be an offence under section 377.
“An individual has full liberty over his or her body and his or her sexual orientation is a matter of one’s choice,” said the Chief Justice.
“Time to bid adieu to prejudicial perceptions deeply ingrained in social mindset. Time to empower LGBTIQ community against discrimination. They should be allowed to make their choices,” he added.
In a concurring judgement, Justice Nariman said homosexuality is “not a mental disorder or disease”.
He said the LGBTIQ community has an equal right to live with dignity and are entitled to equal protection of law. He directed the Centre to give wide publicity to this judgment to remove the stigma attached to homosexuality.
Justice Chandrachud said to deny the LGBTIQ community their right to sexual orientation is a denial of their citizenship and a violation of their privacy.
“They cannot be pushed into obscurity by an oppressive colonial legislation… Sexual minorities in India have lived in fear, hiding as second class citizens,” said Justice Chandrachud, adding “the state has no business to intrude on such matters”.
Justice Indu Malhotra said that history owes an apology to the LGBTIQ community for all that they have suffered on account of the ignorance of the majority about homosexuality.
“LGBTIQ people have a right to live unshackled from the shadow,” she said.
The Supreme Court verdict, which overruled its own earlier judgment, assumes significance as in the earlier round of litigation in 2013, the top court had reversed a Delhi High Court ruling decriminalising homosexuality.
The Delhi High Court bench, headed by then Chief Justice A.P. Shah, had in July 2009 legalised homosexual acts between consenting adults by overturning the 149-year-old law — finding it unconstitutional and a hurdle in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In December 2013, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya in the Suresh Kumar Koushal and another vs Naz Foundation and others case, had set aside the high court’s judgment and said that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.
The matter was subsequently resurrected in July 2016, when a fresh petition was filed by members of the LGBTIQ community — dancer N.S. Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur — which was then marked to the Constitution Bench by a Division Bench.
The reference was made on the basis of submission that it was the first time that individuals directly affected by the provision were approaching the court.
Among the petitioners are a batch of current and former students of Indian Institutes of Technology. Claiming to represent more than 350 LGBTIQ alumni, students, staff and faculty from the IITs, the petitioners said that the existence of Section 377 had caused them “mental trauma and illnesses, such as clinical depression and anxiety and relegated some of them to second-class citizenship”. (IANS)