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India declares freedom of sexual orientation a fundamental right

2017-11-18 11:00| Posted by: Pitta| View: 63| Comment: 1

Summary: 'Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual'

India’s Supreme Court has issued a historic ruling confirming the right of the country’s LGBT people to express their sexuality without discrimination. 

Judges ruled that sexual orientation is covered under clauses in the Indian Constitution that relate to liberty, despite the Government claiming there was no legal right to privacy.

The ruling paves the way for discriminatory practices against LGBT people to be challenged in the courts.

“Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform.”The Supreme Court’s judgement read: “Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy.

One of the first laws to be amended after the ruling could be the controversial Section 377 of the country’s penal code, which bans sexual activity that is “against the order of nature”. Many have interpreted the wording to include gay sex.

In 2009 the section was dismissed by the High Court of Delhi, but that verdict was overturned by the Supreme Court, which said it was the responsibility of Parliament, not the judiciary, to change the law. Another legal challenge to Section 377 is currently underway.

The latest Supreme Court ruling confirming the freedom to express sexual orientation formed part of a wider case assessing whether privacy was a fundamental right for the 1.3 billion people living in India. The nine-judge panel decided it should be considered as part of the right to life and liberty enshrined in the country’s constitution. 

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