377. Unnatural offences.—whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.
376. Punishment for rape.— (1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section (2), commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the women raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which cases, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both: Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years.
The above mentioned sections are from the Indian Penal Code and for the purpose of this article we wanted to highlight for our readers the minimum sentence in place for rape and homosexuality.
• 1A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
• 2(often with modifier)Confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.
The pride movement originated in the United States as a way to commemorate the Stonewall Riots back in 1969. At the time, homosexuality — or “sodomy,” as it was referred to in the legal books — was still a crime. Men could be arrested for wearing drag, and women faced the same punishment if they were found wearing less than three pieces of “feminine clothing.” The harassment continued for years, infuriating the gay community. On June 28, 1969, the police arrived at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. However, the 200 patrons inside didn’t just sit down and wait to be arrested — they resisted, and then rioted, sending the police a loud and clear message about their frustration with the status quo for LGBT individuals.
Ever since then June is celebrated as Pride month throughout the world.
In India, the first LGBTQ pride march was held in Kolkata in 1999 after which it had its next pride after a gap of a few years in 2003. And many cities followed suit. Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai had their own pride marches starting 2008. The Delhi high court judgement in 2009 sparked many pride parades across the country by giving thousands of people cause to celebrate. In 2010 on the anniversary of the landmark judgement, Kerala held its very first pride march. But in September 2013 the community suffered a huge setback when the Supreme Court of India overturned the judgement given by the Delhi High Court. Since then pride parades have been witnessing a steady rise, even reaching smaller cities like Coimbatore, Patna, Madurai etc. just last year Lucknow witnessed its first ever pride march, making it the first State in Uttar Pradesh to do so.
And while currently homosexuality is still criminalized in India, there is a beacon of hope. In August 2017 the Supreme Court of India passed a landmark judgment recognising right to privacy as a fundamental right under article 21. Under its ambit, the court also recognised the right of sexual orientation. The Supreme Court’s judgement read: “Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy.“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 LGBTQ+ community in India is hoping that in the light of this judgement homosexuality may be decriminalized. An archaic law made in 1861 under the British rule, which was decriminalized by the British themselves in 1967. It is high time we follow their example, and empower the community that we have been oppressing for decades.
Our legal system just like our phones is in dire need of an update. And maybe if we cared about our laws half as passionately as we care about the newest, fastest processor on the market, we would have a better country to live in.
This write-up was submitted by Akanksha Duvedi (2nd Year)