Guest Post by DANISH SHEIKH
“We declare that Section 377 IPC, insofar it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private, is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution.” Today marks 5 years of the Delhi High Court’s Naz Foundation v. Union of India judgment. Every year since the judgment came out, this has been a day marked by celebration. I remember this day in 2009 when the sheer novelty of the “decriminalized” tag reverberated through us in euphoric waves; the time in 2011 when we stood with flamboyant helium balloons in Bangalore’s Cubbon park, struggling with an untimely Bangalore drizzle; and then in 2013 in the same park, where the rain gave way to a too bright sun and lingering uncertainty about the fate of the judgment. It is now 2014 and we know its immediate fate. It has hit a bit of a, shall we say, roadbump.
Continue reading Remembering Naz: Danish Sheikh
This is a guest post by M. REYAZ
The Apex Court judgment of December 11, putting aside the Delhi High Court order on decriminalisation of homosexuality, pertaining to Section 377 of the IPC has clearly divided into two ‘queer’ camps, where on one side besides LGBTS are those liberals extending their support to the LGBT cause, and on the other side, there are religious leaders and groups, who otherwise would not even see eye to eye with each other (what is ‘queer’ about this second camp is not so much its sexual orientation, as the strangeness of its banding together against queer people despite their antagonism toward each other).
Continue reading As a religious minority, I empathize with sexual minorities: M Reyaz
Guest post by RUTH VANITA, Professor at the University of Montana. This statement was written in the context of the teachers’ intervention in the Supreme Court in the appeal by religious groups against the Delhi High Court judgement on Section 377 . This statement does not form part of court documents. You can read Shivaji Panikkar’s statement here
I belong to a middle-class family of educationists, various members of which migrated to Delhi from Rangoon and Lahore at Partition. I was educated entirely in Delhi, first at Springdales School, and then at Miranda House. I got my Ph.D. from Delhi University. I started teaching at the age of 20 at Miranda House; I taught there for 18 years and then for two years as a Reader in the English Department, Delhi University, before taking early voluntary retirement in 1997.
Continue reading A Statement Supporting the Delhi HC Judgment on Section 377: Ruth Vanita
Guest post by SHIVAJI K PANIKKAR, art historian and Dean, School of Culture & Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University, Delhi. This statement was written in the context of the teachers’ intervention in the Supreme Court in the appeal by religious groups against the Delhi High Court judgement on Section 377 . This statement does not form part of court documents.
You can read Ruth Vanita’s statement here.
I was born in a traditional, upper caste Hindu family and lived in Kerala till I was 22 years old, and since then shifted to study, work and live inBaroda,Gujarat. In 1975c I completed a B.A in Kerala with Economics and History as my subjects. InBarodathrough 1980s, at MS University I did another B.A. in Dance (Bharatanatyam), an M.A. and Ph. D in Art History as specialization. I was appointed as Professor in 1998. Till recently I was Head of Department of Art History & Aesthetics, Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda. I have an experience of teaching at the University of about 25 years.
Since childhood I knew I had homosexual inclinations, and lived it secretively till the age of about 43/45 years. Since then I lived an openly gay life; a fact that I couldn’t any more hide in my personal life as well as in my professional life. It was a matter of emotional and intellectual honesty and integrity that I accepted in public my sexual orientation, and no more live a life of fear and oppression.
Continue reading A Statement Supporting the Delhi HC Judgment on Section 377: Shivaji Panikkar
The Delhi High Court judgement reading down Section 377 to decriminalize consensual sex between adults was appealed against in the Supreme Court by several religious groups. However during the appeal, the Government of India withdrew its objections to the High Court judgement. In addition, there were some parties that intervened to support the judgement – parents, medical practitioners and teachers, among others. The Supreme Court judgement is awaited, but meanwhile, I am posting below the position of the 16 teachers who intervened in this matter. This statement does not form part of court documents.
As teachers we essentially wanted to make the argument that Section 377 vitiates for everybody (and not just for gay people) the general atmosphere of free expression, learning, enquiry, and dignity that an academic environment should ensure. That we oppose Sec 377 because its existence on the statute books legitimizes an atmosphere that runs counter to the spirit of openness and acceptance of difference that should mark modern academic spaces. Its existence is not only an affront to those who are non-heterosexual, but it is an affront to each and every person in the academy who believes that every teacher and student has dignity that should be respected, and that learning is a continuous and life-long process, in which fixed ways of thinking are continuously challenged and reshaped by winds of change.
Continue reading Teachers’ Intervention in the Supreme Court on Section 377