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Section 377 criminalising ‘unnatural sex’ may be scrapped, says Sadananda Gowda

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

After the historic US verdict legalising same sex marriage received positive reception on social media, India may be planning to move along similar lines.

Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda has indicated that India could move towards abolishing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises ‘unnatural sex’,  including gay liaisons.

Legalisation of gay marriages could also be considered, Gowda said.

“The mood appears to be in favour of it. But it can be done only after widespread consultations and taking all views into account”, added the minister.

For a politician hailing from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district, the conservative part of the Mangaluru Lok Sabha constituency, Gowda has taken a radical stance.

The coastal belt is known as a stronghold of the Sangh Parivar, and has strong, and negative views on homosexuality.

Irrespective of the views of his patrons,  Gowda contends that a legislation on the rights of transgenders could provide a model for the Indian gay community.

To emphasize the possibility, Gowda pointed out that after several years of delay, a private member’s Bill on the rights of transgenders, moved in the Rajya Sabha by Tiruchi Siva of DMK, had received overwhelming response.

“That Bill has been passed by the Rajya Sabha (in April) and everyone supported it. If that Bill is passed by the Lok Sabha and becomes an Act, Section 377 will become irrelevant,” Gowda said.

However, Gowda’s remarks on the fallout of the legislation on transgenders were somewhat away from reality.

“My bill was just limited to the educational, economic, employment and health rights of transgenders”, Tiruchi Siva of DMK told ET.

The minister added that the bill did not talk about Section 377 or anything other than the rights of transgenders.

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Section 377 : Does It Really Has Anything To Do With Indian Culture?

The modern Indian approach towards homosexuality is hardly the one derived from Indian culture

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Gay pride Flag
Rainbow Flag represents LGBT community, VOA

By Ruchika Verma

  • Section 377 of IPC is one of the most controversial matters in India
  • The law criminalises the unnatural acts of sexual activities
  • Homosexuality is illegal under the IPC Section 377

Section 377, which criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature,” which includes homosexual relationships as well, has been a matter of debate for a long time now. In a rather progressive nation like India, this section represents nothing but backwardness.

Section 377 is one of the reasons why LGBTQ community gets harassed.
Section 377 is one of the reasons why LGBTQ community gets harassed.

The modern Indian approach towards homosexuality is hardly the one derived from Indian culture, rather it is a product of British colonialization, which brought the section into being during their rule over India.

LGBTQ rights are used as nothing but a propaganda by political parties to gain votes. The media coverage is also about nothing else, but either community members getting harassed or a politician spewing out absurdities about the LGBTQ community. The reasons which the rigid nationalists of our country give in support of Section 377 are even more absurd. they try to create a connection where there is neither scope nor need.

Also Read: Section 377 criminalising ‘unnatural sex’ may be scrapped, says Sadananda Gowda

Indian Culture and Section 377 – Is there really a connection? 

The truth is, there isn’t. Those who go against homosexuality in the name of Indian culture are surely not properly aware of our ancient texts. Indian culture, especially Hinduism has always been more fluid in its ideology than the British who ruled India for more than a century.

Indian culture has always recognised sexuality properly. Our scriptures are a great example of that. Be it the famous Kamasutra or the Vedas, sexuality was never a taboo until Mughals and Britishers came into the picture.

Indian culture nowhere says that homosexuality is wrong or unethical.
Indian culture nowhere says that homosexuality is wrong or unethical.

Nowhere in Indian culture, there is a scripture which validates the ill-treatment of LGBTQ community. What we don’t release is the fact that the weight of colonialism still hangs heavily over our heads, suspended in mid-air, dividing people who believe in totally two different ideologies.

Our ancestors recognised the need for changes in their law, sadly, our modern generation can not. Section 377 of the Indian penal code dates back to 1861, and it is now high time that a change is implemented.

LGBT community needs to be accepted just as much as any other community. Pixabay
LGBT community needs to be accepted just as much as any other community. Pixabay

It is no hidden fact that Indian culture was far more modern in its approach than the Roman or British one. However, that’s the case of the past. With time progressing, India has only regressed in the matters relating to sexuality and women.

Be it society’s way of controlling a certain section of society, or politicians who never step back from banking upon such matters, India needs to recognise that the Section 377 is totally wrong in its approach of homosexual people.

Section 377 and the problems with it

Also Read: How did Rainbow Flag attain the Prestige of representing the LGBT Community? 

Section 377 goes against the ‘unnatural’ sexual activities, which involves unnatural sexual acts performed on humans and animals. the key term in the section is “against the order of nature.”

Homosexuality, unfortunately, is against the nature in India. It is not treated as an identity or the orientation of a person, rather many radicals claim it to be an ‘illness.’ What’s more interesting, is the fact that there is no norm which defines these ‘unnatural acts.’

The IPC Section 377 is the reason why homosexuality in India is a taboo today. Despite, several protests and peaceful rallies, India’s pride just keeps on going down. Homosexuals live in a constant fear which is a violation of humanity in itself.

pride flag
The rainbow pride flag of the LGBT community. Wikimedia Commons

The law needs to be constantly modified in order to be effective. With the change in time, a modification is law is also needed. However, Indian Supreme Court seems to be ignoring the fact. It is going along with the old beliefs which are better cast away.

The IPC Section 377 needs not to get removed, however, an amendment is definitely needed. Homosexuality is not a crime, it is just human nature which needs to accept. To be or not be is not a choice, it is an orientation. And orientation doesn’t see legal or illegal.