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LGBT actvists pin hope on government after Supreme Court verdict on Section 377

Thursday, 12 December 2013 - 10:28pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Leading women rights activists on Thursday asked the government to not only file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking review of its verdict upholding a law criminalising homosexuality but take legislative steps to address the grivances of the LGBT community.

Activist Kavita Krishnan said the issue should not be allowed to test the "balance of political forces" if the government takes the legislative route to address it.

"The Supreme Court's verdict is completely unacceptable and with the ball likely to go to Parliament's court, it is even worse that the rights and safety of the community is going to be subjected to political community to test the balance of the political force," she said.

"The horrible verdict which was delivered on Wednesday by our Supreme Court is against the very value of 'justice' itself. Justice is justice, it should not focus on the person who is demanding it," said Kamla Bhasin, global women right activist and founder member of Jagori, an NGO for women.

"The verdict is the biggest shock of 2013. We were very certain that the SC will take up the struggle for equal rights for homo-sexuality but they have taken us decades back," said Bhasin, who is also handling the South-Asia segment of One Billion Rising campaign against violence for women.

American playwright Eve Ensler, who is the mind behind the campaign believes, "there is no fight between men and women, illegal or legal, unnatural or natural, the fight that exists in the society is between justice and injustice." Ensler, who is known for her play 'The Vagina Monologues which has been translated into 50 languages and has been performed in 140 countries, said that "The verdict talks about the difference 'natural sex' and 'unnatural sex'." "Who said and who knows what is natural and what is unnatural? If you are doing it and you are attracted towards it, is it not natural?," says Eve.

When we have progressed in the way we deal with cases of crime against women, why do we need to stick to such views of calling gay sex illegal, Bhasin said.

"People like Asaram, Narayan Sai, Tarun Tejpal have also been questioned for their acts like never before, it shows we have moved ahead of those days. Why go decades back," she says.

Terming that justice is all about "dissolving" the boundaries, Eve said the verdict would further "put people into boxes and a hierarchy would set up, that's where a separation from the society begins".

Echoing the views, Disha who has no apprehensions in calling herself a 'Kinnar', said, "The LGBT community has never found any representation anywhere, be it government initiatives or the media. And now when they call it 'illegal and unnatural' what hopes are left."

"There are certain advertisements, which talk about bringing men and women together in the society. Nobody talks about bringing 'our gender' together with the society," she says.

Amid an uproar over the apex court ruling, the government has hinted at taking the legislative route to address the issue.

"It is the prerogative of the Supreme Court under the Constitution to test the constitutionality of a law. They are exercising their prerogative. We have the prerogative to make laws. We shall exercise our prerogative," Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here.

The court in its verdict put the ball in Parliament's court to decide on the desirability of deleting the relevant section from Indian Penal Code.


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