Criticising the attitude of MPs, a Bangalore-based NGO Sangama, working for the sexual and gender minorities, said that no responsible Parliament should ignore the harassment and persecution of sexual minorities on account of outdated and archaic Section 377.
While the Juvenile Justice Bill continues to languish in Rajya Sabha over a year now, Lok Sabha on Friday shot down an effort by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to legalise gay sex through a private member’s Bill at the introduction stage itself. The MPs prevented any discussion aimed at dropping Section 377 from the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860 that criminalises homosexuality. The ruling BJP members pressed for division to flung out the Bill and scored victory as its introduction was disallowed by a majority of 71 as against 24 voting for it. Tharoor tweeted: “Surprising to see such intolerance.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising the attitude of MPs, a Bangalore-based NGO Sangama, working for the sexual and gender minorities, said that no responsible Parliament should ignore the harassment and persecution of sexual minorities on account of outdated and archaic Section 377.Shashi Tharoor also said he was only fulfilling the Supreme Court’s wish in a ruling in December 2013, leaving it up to Parliament to remove the obnoxious Section from the statute. In a Twitter post, the former Union minister said: “Intro of Pvt. Member’s Bill 2 decriminalize consensual sex btwn consenting adults defeated in LS 71-24. Surprising to see such intolerance.” He said: “Notice of intent to oppose introduction of Bill came so late, there was no time 2 rally support.”In yet another tweet, he said: “We weren’t at passage. It was just “leave to introduce the bill” that was rejected by the intolerant. They couldn’t even debate!” He is, however, not dejected by defeat of his attempt as he tweeted further: “Will try again in future. We shall overcome!” Tharoor, however, found no resistance to two other private member’s Bills he introduced on Friday, one to amend the IPC to substitute a new section for Section 124A on sedition and another Asylum to protect refugees and asylum seekers and to determine their cases. In a landmark judgment in 2009, the Delhi High Court had stuck down Section 377 of the IPC as “unconstitutional” and decriminalised consensual sex among adult homosexual men. The Supreme Court, however, overturned the verdict on 12.12.2013 to re-legalise Section 377 while putting the ball in the government’s court, arguing that it was free to annul the law through legislation.Section 377 deals with “unnatural offences” and says “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with [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.Rajesh Umadevi, director of Sangama said the retention of Section 377 was aimed at to harass and persecute sexual minorities, including transgender and various identities. “The insidious danger of Section 377 lies in the fact that it permeates different social settings including the medical establishment, family and the state. It also expressed the deep societal repugnance towards sexual minorities and provided the flag leaf of legitimacy for the harassment of sexual minorities,” he said.