Section 377 of Indian Penal Code- A Repressive Burden
By Advocate Balaji A Kamble / 2016-07-12
Homosexuality is considered a taboo in a largely conservative Indian society which appears to be divided on the controversial issue. Freedom of loving people (not necessarily belonging to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender or LGBT community) want homosexuality de-criminalized but many still consider it a deviant behaviour and not merely a question of one’s sexual orientation or preference.

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The world's largest democracy stands proudly upon pillars of equality and fundamental rights guaranteed to all by The Constitution. However, what lies beyond this is a reality that the Indian society is struggling with a grey space between traditions and modernity. Article 377 is an example of such a provision that presently not only serves as a tool for invading the privacy of the individuals but also degrades their dignity by declaring their most intimate feelings and emotions - unnatural or better yet illegal.

Article 377

According to Article 377, under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), unnatural offences state that "Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and also shall be liable to fine."

This provision is older than 150 years and was introduced in the IPC by Lord Thomas Macaulay dating back to 1860 . It is essential to note that this provision, implemented by the British was passed "undemocratically" in accordance to what they thought was against moral lapses as a reflection of  "the British Judeo-Christian values of the time". Furthermore, these laws were passed without discussions or participation by any "native" population. This model law was a colonial attempt to set standards of behaviour used as a broad instrument of social control, both to reform the colonized and to protect the colonizers.

Homosexuality- Disease or Social Stigma?

Homosexuality is considered a taboo in a largely conservative Indian society which appears to be divided on the controversial issue. Freedom of loving people (not necessarily belonging to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender or LGBT community) want homosexuality de-criminalized but many still consider it a deviant behaviour and not merely a question of one’s sexual orientation or preference.

Have a Legal Issue?

Get connected to the Best Lawyers and Chartered Accountants Near You!


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