NEW DELHI: In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court today declared that homosexuality is not an offence in India. “Section 377 is irrational and arbitrary. Sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of freedom of expression,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra said, reading out the judgement. Reactions started pouring in on micro-blogging site Twitter after the spectacular verdict was announced. Among the celebrities, Karan Johar was the first one to tweet. “The country gets its oxygen back,” he tweeted. Celebrities Sonam Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Richa Chadha, Varun Dhawan, Swara Bhaskar, Shruti Seth also praised the landmark judgement. Author Chetan Bhagat wrote, “It is a good day for India”.
“Historical judgment!!!! So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights! The country gets its oxygen back!,” tweeted Karan Johar.
“India is a country where the culture changes every 100km. Accepting diversity has to be the core value of every Indian and frankly is the only way India will survive and thrive. Scrapping #Section377 is a step in that direction. It is a good day for India,” tweeted author Chetan Bhagat.
“This is the india I want to live in. Not one filled with hate, bigotry,sexism homophobia and intolerance. THIS is the India I love,” wrote actress Sonam Kapoor.
Actor Ayushmann Khurrana also celebrated the death of Section 377. “The new sunshine of this day is that of a progressive India. Love all!,” he said. Actor Kalki Koechlin wrote, “So happy today, thank goodness for the rainbow (and all the lawyers that helped put it there!),” she wrote.
“Well done well done well done ! It’s about time! ! #pride #loveislove,” tweeted actress Richa Chadha.
“About time. Thank you #SupremeCourt
Love has been set free,” tweeted actress Shruti Seth.
“Aligarh” scriptwrite Apurva Asrani said it has taken 71 years for the community to find its freedom but their voice can no longer be suppressed. “At the stroke of the mid-day hour, as the conscience of many slept, India’s LGBTQ awoke to light & freedom. This moment came 71 years too late history, 71 yrs after our brethren attained freedom; but the soul of a community, long suppressed, has found utterance. Congratulations!,” Asrani said.
“Bye Bye Section 377,” read actor Varun Dhawan’s tweet. “A law implemented in 1860 is now abolished. A day for our entire nation to live with pride. Bye bye #sec377 #lovealllovefree #historic,” he wrote.
Director Hansal Mehta, who made “Aligarh”, a true-life inspired film about in Aligarh Muslim University professor Ramchandra Siras, who faced discrimination for being gay, called the verdict a “new beginning”. “A new beginning. The law is gone. The Supreme Court has done what parliament failed to do. Now it’s time for attitudes to change. Let’s rejoice but let us also reflect. This is a new beginning. #Sec377verdict,” he tweeted.
Announcing the historic verdict, the Chief Justice said, “I am what I am. So take me as I am.”
“History owes an apology to LGBT persons for ostracisation, discrimination,” said Justice Indu Malhotra.
Under the 1861 law, gay sex was punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Five high-profile petitioners – Bharatnatyam dancer Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, Neemrana hotel chain co-founder Aman Nath and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur – argued that Section 377 violates the rights enshrined in the Constitution.