A Year After Supreme Court’s Sec 377 Order, LGBT+ Community Waits for Inclusive Laws

Reading down of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) isn’t enough to secure the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)+ community, according to a study that has highlighted the need to repeal section 377 to prevent its misuse in cases of violence involving same sex relations.

In a landmark judgment the SC, through a reading down of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC), decriminalised same sex consensual relationships on Sept 6 last year, but for the LGBT+ community legal inclusion is still a dream.

A study by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has highlighted the need for victim neutrality in provisions related to sexual offences in criminal law & repeal of section 377 to prevent its misuse in cases of sexual violence involving same sex couples. The analysis also takes into account concerns of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)+ community members who participated in the consultations organised as part of the research.

The study titled “Queering the Law: Making Indian laws Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)+ Inclusive” analyses India’s legal regime across the broad themes of identity, violence, family & employment. “The objective of this analysis is to identify laws that either continue to operate in the male-female binary or discriminate against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)+ persons. This study aims at building on the conversation for legal inclusion,” Akshat Agarwal, from Vidhi’s research team said.

The study on “Violence” draws attention to the complexity of existing criminal laws. For instance it is pointed out that provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to offences of sexual nature operate in the male-female binary & assume sexual acts in the same binary.

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