Saturday November 25, 2017
Home Politics Shashi Tharoo...

Shashi Tharoor fails to introduce bill to decriminalize gay sex

0
39

New Delhi: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s bill to decriminalize gay sex could not be passed as members from ruling BJP and even his own party walked out on Friday’s Lok Sabha session.

The bill met with strong opposition and was also rejected by Law Minister Sadananda Gowda.

Only 24 lawmakers spoke in favour of the bill with a large number of lawmakers voting out the bill.

“Surprising to see such intolerance,” Mr Tharoor tweeted.

Former union minister Tharoor sought to introduce a bill to amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits sex “against the order of nature”.

This phrase was sought to be dropped by the proposed bill, along with legalizing consensual sex between adults, irrespective of sexuality and gender.

Lawmakers from Kerala gave the proceedings a miss due to the impending Kerala elections in a few months.

The Delhi High Court, in 2009, exempted consensual gay sex from Section 377, stating that the law went against the right to equality, privacy, and personal liberty.

However, in 2013, the Supreme Court, finding the law constitutionally valid, restored the ban and left it in the hands of the Parliament to remove or change the law.

At that time, the ruling Congress Party stood against the decision to restore the ban while the BJP supported Section 377. However, since the BJP came to power last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has supported calls for changing the law and ending the ban.

“When you have millions of people involved in this (gay sex) you can’t nudge them off,” said the minister at an event last month.

“When millions of people world over are having alternative sexual preferences, it is too late in the day to propound a view that they should be jailed. The Delhi High Court’s view appears more acceptable,” Jaitley commented.

Next Story

Landmark Judgement: Right to Privacy Becomes Fundamental Right of India, Rules Supreme Court

Supreme Court today ruled, the right to privacy "is protected as an intrinsic part of Article 21 that protects life and liberty."

0
26
Supreme Court rules Right to privacy a fundamental right
The Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia
  • Right to privacy was made a fundamental right for citizens of India
  • The decision came out unanimously by the bench of 9 judges including Chief Justice JS Khehar
  • Lawyer Prashant Bhushan noted ‘all fundamental rights come with reasonable restrictions’

New Delhi, August 24, 2017: In another landmark verdict by the Supreme Court, Right to privacy was made a fundamental right for citizens of India. Supreme Court today ruled: The right to privacy “is protected as an intrinsic part of Article 21 that protects life and liberty.”

A crowd of petitioners previously challenged the government’s Aadhaar biometric project, which has taped the iris scans and fingerprints of more than half a population.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan noted ‘all fundamental rights come with reasonable restrictions.’ He further cautioned by saying that ‘whether Aadhaar can be seen as a reasonable restriction has yet to be decided’.

The decision came out unanimously by the bench of 9 judges including Chief Justice JS Khehar. Right to privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen, the judges said, overruling two previous Supreme Court judgments.

It is a watershed moment, remarked Sajan Poovayya, a petitioner in the case. “Whatever the state decides will be checked and tested on that basis. The powers of the state are curtailed to some extent,” he told NDTV.
Background: Government vs. Petitioners 
The government argued in the past that ‘right to privacy’ is not explicitly embodied in the Constitution as the founding fathers expelled the idea of inclusion of privacy as a fundamental liberty.
However, petitioners contended that in technologically dynamic society,  the identification of privacy as a fundamental freedom is an essential step against interference into personal space by the government and private players.

Adhar was criticised as a design which infringes privacy. India lacking the law on privacy aggravated the problem in the past.

Contentious argument: Why protect Adhaar? 

India is swiftly emerging as a digital market. Being a nation of billion mobile users, it needs laws on privacy and data protection as well.

Chances of fraudulence,  misrepresentation, ID theft are increasingly becoming the real concerns.

With the growing number of transactions done over the internet, information shared on such digital platforms become imperiled to misuse and theft.

Right to privacy bearing on Section 377

In 2013, the apex Court had supported Section 377 of the IPC, an iron fisted law that criminalizes the intimate relations “against the law of nature.” Today, the court’s decree on Right to Privacy also brought the protection of physical intimacies.

Explaining the concept of privacy, Justice DY Chandrachud, who was part of the nine-judge bench that pronounced the verdict, said in his judgment: “Privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation… Privacy also connotes a right to be left alone.”


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

 

Next Story

Rainbow Designs: Using Architecture to Sensitize People for the Rights of LGBT Community

The sensitisation hub, shaped like a pizza slice, seeks to make the point that the environment can "remedy the shortcomings" of India's LGBT community

0
49
pride flag
The rainbow pride flag of the LGBT community. wikimedia
  • 23-year-old Abhyam Shukla’s design of a sensitization centre for the community takes gender-tropes head on
  • Kolkata-based Shukla’s interest in designing the sensitization centre was triggered when a friend from the community committed suicide last year
  • Cities like Paris, Madrid and New York have hubs for the LGBT community and there is no reason why Indian cities should also not have umbrella centres

Kolkata, July 21, 2017: It’s shaped like a pizza slice and seeks to make the point that the environment can “remedy the shortcomings” of India’s LGBT community. Taking gender tropes head-on, 23-year-old Abhyam Shukla’s design of a sensitisation centre for the community, his undergraduate architectural thesis, makes it a dissertation with a difference.

Kolkata-based Shukla’s interest in designing the sensitisation centre was triggered when a friend from the community committed suicide last year.

“The idea came to me when a friend from Lucknow committed suicide and that’s when I realised how I could use architecture to benefit the community,” Shukla, who identifies himself as a bisexual, told IANS.

The Lady Ga Ga fan says the hub traverses the gray areas and eschews the binary perspective in architectural realms in the sense that it brings about a balance between masculine and feminine elements.

“In the last five years that I have studied architecture, I have been involved in theatre and making short films. So when I had to submit my thesis, I wanted to do something that had not been done by universities in India before,” Shukla explained.

Shukla, who has just concluded his B.Arch from Jadavpur University, says cities like Paris, Madrid and New York have hubs for the LGBT community and there is no reason why Indian cities should also not have umbrella centres.

Set in the satellite township of Rajarhat in northeastern fringes of Kolkata, the blueprint of the pizza-slice shaped, slightly dented triangular hub includes queer museum spaces, healthcare and housing plans amid a landscape replete with a “healthy mix of sharp angular edges as well as soft undulating curves”.

To shape his vision and to be fair to the community’s needs, Shukla conducted a survey of as many as 250 respondents from the LGBT community (15-25 year olds) spanning 24 states.

“I asked them if they would like such a centre in their city and I also asked them what functions they would like. Based on their feedback, I started my design,” said Shukla, for whom Danish architect Bjarke Bundgaard Ingels and India’s Charles Correa are inspirations.

A majority of respondents — when queried on how effective queer museums can be in educating society — backed the idea of queer libraries and museums in helping society draw inspiration from the past. Similarly, there was a thumping “yes” on the presence of judicial services and trauma cells for assisting the community in rehabilitative measures.

“What I wanted to do was to use the stereotypical notions of masculine and feminine and show the world the concept of a third gender. Nothing in the world is binary; there is a spectrum of gray. I tried to use the male form, the female form and then create a hybrid form. So my design has all the three mixed together to show that society is supposed to live like this,” he elaborated.

Some of the built spaces that were analysed by Shukla as case studies are the National Centre for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the Welfare Centre for Children and Teenagers in Paris, the Proyecto Hombre in Madrid and the BE Friendly Space in Hanoi.

ALSO READHow did Rainbow Flag attain the Prestige of representing the LGBT Community?

Three main aspects — awareness, housing and healthcare — underpin the design elements of Shukla’s version. “In the awareness aspect, which encompasses queer museums and libraries, people can go and learn about the community. This gives will inform people that India has had a long tryst with homosexuality and debunk myths that it is a Western concept,” he said.

The housing facility provides shelter to the homeless and estranged members of the community,” added Shukla.

Gender activist Pawan Dhall felt a sensitisation hub was a great idea.

“I can just say that the idea is excellent. But I would be sceptical about housing plans. I’m not much in favour of people living in exclusive domains, unless it’s for people with special needs. Or because of old age and there is a need for institutionalised caregiving. Otherwise, a sensitisation hub idea is great. It would be even better if there are some elements of intersections with other social issues at the hub,” Dhall told IANS.

According to Gita Balakrishnan, Chairperson of the Indian Institute of Architects, West Bengal Chapter, the design indicates “sensitive handling of spaces that respects privacy while allowing freedom”.

However, activist Meenakshi Sanyal, questioned how a physical hub would function given the dichotomy in the legal perception (Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code) about the community in India.

“In 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalized homosexuality. That time a lot of closet LGBT members had come out. When the Supreme Court had set aside that verdict in 2013, many became invisible again. I am not saying the hub is not a good idea but there is a need to focus on the accessibility of a physical hub.

“In that sense, digital fora are more accessible. Also, with the Supreme Court recognising the rights of transgender people, there is a gap in the community… the ‘T’ from LGBT is removed… so we have to factor in all these aspects,” Sanyal, who runs LGBT community support group Sappho for Equality, told IANS. (IANS)


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

Next Story

Gay Men Dating in Cartoons Banned in Kenya: Is India Standing on the same Pedestal?

Kenya Takes Up Step to Stop Exposure of Homosexuality in Children

0
238
The Loud House Cartoon
The Loud House Cartoon is banned in Kenya.
  • Kenya bans some cartoon shows airing on Nickelodeon as they were flagged to be disturbing content glorifying homosexual behavior
  • The Loud House (only one episode of two gay men dating each other), The Legend of Korra and Hey Arnold were some of the banned shows
  • Exekiel Mutua said, “Adults can choose to become homosexuals and exercise their rights on sexual orientation and relationships, but not so with children”

June 22, 2017:

After millenniums of being into existence, we still have our reservations from homosexuality. Even though its explanation in the ancient times, we still refrain from conversations with gay men dating others. A person’s sexuality is a matter of his own choice and the sole owner of this field is the person itself but the world can’t digest the fact of exposing people towards other people. What we need to remember is denying their existence means crippling your thoughts!

The exposure of homosexuality to children in our society through cartoons plays a very big role because it shapes the thinking of the child but on the other hand, the world is just ignoring the fact and hiding it so that it doesn’t create a single impact on the child. This brings out the need to have more discussions on exposing homosexuality to children and how it should shape the modern world.

One case that recently came into light was in Kenya where gay anime shows which aired on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network were banned from the country because it was flagged as disturbing content and ‘glorifying homosexual behavior’ among children.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

Some of the names of those programs were-

  • The Loud House –The show is about the life of a child living with 11 other family members and his house is a mess.
  • The Legend of Korra –It is a sci-fi show where all the cartoons are known to bend matter.
  • Hey Arnold – The show centers on a child name Arnold who falls in adventurous troubles with his friends.

The Chief executive officer of the regulatory board, Exekiel Mutua said that “Adults can choose to become homosexuals and exercise their rights on sexual orientation and relationships, but not so with children”.

In India, there is hardly any chance that the cartoons can be related to homosexuality as there is a possibility it may be considered not normal or even a crime. The most relatable example in the Indian concept is if we talk about the movie ‘Bombay Talkies’. The movie has four short movies and two of them is “Ajeeb Dastan Hain Ye”  and “Sheila ki Jawani” and in that movie.

ALSO READ: Amnesty Condemns Caning of Gay Men in Indonesia by Sharia or Islamic law in Indonesia

In “Sheila ki Jawani”, the protagonist aspires to become a dancer and dances to the tunes of the Bollywood song Sheila ki Jawani but his father wishes him to have a more manly aim such as to be a footballer. This small example can exactly tell you about the scenario in India. How profession is linked to the gender and not to one’s individual choices. In this country, people are more concerned about a boy child not to have ‘Girly’ Dreams then how can one expect the cartoons to be glorifying homosexuality.

The idea of not including homosexual content in cartoons is because it is believed that it might induce homosexual behavior in children. Though ironically, if cartoons start having these hints of homosexuality for children to view at a young age, they might react normally when they witness an actual homosexual relation. There is a possibility that we will not push or reject anyone to a corner for the choices they will make. Acceptance might rule. THINK!

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi