“Everyone's fundamental rights have been violated,” insists Anand Grover, senior counsel at the Supreme Court. In 2009, it was Grover who led the Naz Foundation in the legal case that shot down Section 377 that criminalises homosexuality in India.
Having dedicated his life to legal activism, Supreme Courts ruling upholding the archaic law may have come as a personal blow.
“The impact of the judgement is that the LGBT communities will become easy targets. Millions have been criminalised overnight,” he laments. And he is right. If estimated government figures are to be believed, India is home to around 25 lakhs individuals belonging to the LGBT community.
Following the 2009 ruling, a large number of people were handed a possible future of dignity. Those who braved all odds to embrace their identities and come out about their sexuality are now not only once again marginalised, but also susceptible to hate crimes against them.
“We're back to square one now,” states a sombre Grover.
“This is a blot on the history of Supreme Court. It is a contrary to our constitutional jurisprudence. This is even worse than Additional District Manager of Jabalpur vs. Shiv Kant Shukla case,” he claims. He is, of course, referring to a case brought to the Supreme Court during the emergency of 1975-77 when the judgement ruled in favour of the Government violating the very basic fundamental right to life.
So what about the heterosexuals? Does this law makes heterosexual friends and kin of the LGBT abettors to a crime?
“Why just abettors? In fact, if we were to go by this judgement we can all be criminals. Section 377 criminalises any form of recreational sex that isn't intended for procreation. Implementing this law could provide tools of harassment against citizens of the nation,” he adds.
A number of corporates too, took steps to protect and promote the rights of their LGBT employees by adopting policies that accommodate their needs and ensure safety in workplaces.
“These policies, while well-meaning, are now redundant as the highest judicial body of our country has already marginalised a section of the society.”
“We will be filing for a review of this ruling. If need be, we will follow it with a curated petition, but we will fight this to a satisfactory conclusion,” says the special rapporteur on United Nation's Human Rights Council.
“The legislature also holds the power to amend and repeal this law. We are already working with Parliamentarians,” he informs.