This petition may be signed by alumnae, faculty and students of IITs at IITs Against 377
The Honourable Chief Justice of India,
The Honourable Prime Minister of India,
The Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, India,
The Honourable Minister of Law and Justice, India,
The Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development, India,
and The Directors of the Indian Institutes of Technology.
We are a group of students, alumni, faculty and staff of the Indian Institutes of Technology, collectively expressing our shock and disappointment at the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 377 is a British-era statute that outlaws “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and includes within its ambit intercourse among consenting adults of the same sex. We hold that this law violates the fundamental rights of privacy and autonomy accorded to all Indian citizens by its Constitution, and the rights to dignity, equality and due process of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) citizens. While we demand that the law be immediately modified to exclude all forms of sexual intercourse among consenting adults, we wish to reiterate that this is merely one step towards the goal of equal membership in Indian society for everyone, regardless of sexuality and gender identity. Continue reading Petition from IITs against Section 377
Guest Post by Fahad Hashmi
[ Yesterday, the Supreme Court of India, dismissed the ‘review petition’ that had been filed with a plea to reverse the Supreme Court’s recent (December 2013) decision to uphold the constitutionality of Section 377 of the IPC. This decision effectively ‘re-criminalized’ Homosexuality in India and is a severe blow to human rights. Various religious groups, Hindu, Muslim and Christian had appealed to the Supreme Court to act against the rights and interests of homosexuals. In a sad instance of the erosion of secular and democratic values, the Supreme Court has endorsed their view. The Jamaat -e-Islami Hind, a right wing, muslim fundamentalist organization that claims to speak for Indian Muslims has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. This post by Fahad Hashmi attacks the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s position on homosexuality and challenges its claim to speak in the name of muslims and their faith. We see it as an important contribution to the ongoing discussion on section 377 on Kafila ]
“There was once…a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name.
In the north of the sad city stood mighty factories in which (so I’m told) sadness was actually manufactured, packaged and sent all over the world, which never seemed to get enough of it. Black smoke poured out of the chimneys of the sadness factories and hung over the city like bad news”.
(Haroun and Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie)
It is one of the ironies of democracies across the world that minorities of all shades are always in the crosshairs of majoritarianism. This minority-majority is a function of numbers and power though this is not a thorough definition since we have had seen altered power equation of this binary. The apartheid South Africa is a case in point. For stating the obvious the strength of a democracy is a function of safety and rights that minorities enjoy in it. However, minorities on the whole are always drawing majority’s fire. On the subcontinent one could see this happening in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and of course India is not an exception.
Continue reading Homophobia and Islamobphobia – The Jamaat e Islami Hind and the Supreme Court’s Decision on Section 377: Fahad Hashmi
Guest Post by JANICE LAZARUS
While there have been several writings, posts and comments on the web and in the print about the connection between homosexuality and Hinduism, there has been almost nothing said about the outlook of Christianity on homosexuality. One of the petitioners in Kaushal vs. Naz case is the Utkal Christian Council represented by its Secretary; and so I feel that it is crucial to write about Christianity and the way in which in many parts of the world a Queer Theology is embracing those previously deemed sinful by the Church. While I am in no way a theologian, I do feel that the Bible is open to be read by all and can be interpreted differently by many (as do the different sects within Christianity).
Continue reading Queering Christianity: Janice Lazarus
Guest Post by JAMIA TEACHERS’ SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION
On 11 December, 2013 a two judge bench of the Supreme Court of India (SC) ruled that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which considers homosexuality a criminal offence, does not ‘suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality’ and hence, legally valid. By this highly regrettable ruling the apex court astounded and disappointed not only the LGBT community but the wider public at large.
Continue reading JTSA extends support to the LGBT community, calls for committed judicial activism: JTSA
Suresh Koushal v. Naz Foundation directs law’s violence on the body of the Constitution of India. Proclaiming colonial law as constitutional, the Supreme Court negates its role in the making of postcolonial constitutionalism. It departs from the theatres of comparative constitutionalism in the post–colonies, which used Naz to strengthen their battles against Macaulay’s legacies. Today the Supreme Court is cited amongst the infamous precedents of injustice that mark Indian legal history. Dubbed as ADM Jabalpur 2, the judgment declares sexual emergency on LGBT communities. By breathing life into s. 377, the Supreme Court attaches a badge of stigma on the body of Constitution.
Taking a jurispathic turn, the Supreme Court asserts that equality is subservient to scale by claiming that the LGBT community is a “miniscule fraction of the country’s population”. Inventing the category of a miniscule minority, the Supreme Court implies that equality provisions will apply only to numerically preponderant body populations. Thereby, overwriting equality jurisprudence by the insidious politics of numbers. Continue reading Suresh Koushal v. Naz Foundation: Pratiksha Baxi
Guest Post by PRONOY RAI
It is 2004 all over again. India is shining. Such a difference a decade can make. BJP is on the verge of returning to power, Modi could be India’s next Prime Minister, and the many failures of the UPA could give a new lease of life to Hindutva, if it was dead at all. As India shines, the state (its judicial arm, in this case) has abandoned the queers, questioning their claim to the status of “minority”, rendering them vulnerable to brutality at the hands of the hetero-normative society and other arms of the state (police, for instance), in equal measures. Other minority groups, strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, fought against the claim to citizenship of a (sexual) minority group, decisively defeating them at the altar of justice.
Some of us queers, who stuck to every single word that was written in 2004 that went on to show how agrarian distress, farmer suicides, and saffronization of education didn’t quite add up to a shining India, were left puzzled by the reaction of the BJP to the Supreme Court verdict upholding section 377 in its original, pristine self. You’d think that the shrewd right-wing would take on the first opportunity to invoke a very obvious ancient Indian “culture of homosexuality” to make a progressive argument in favor of decriminalization. You’d assume that in a ravaging hunger to return to power, they would try to bring on board every single group that they can, maybe only later to abandon them, but at least carry them along through elections. Alas, no. For the BJP, India is still shining, and this shining confidence is perhaps sufficient to help them march into 7 Race Course Road, next year. Continue reading Section 377 and India Shining: Pronoy Rai