The Supreme Court on 6 September 2018 in an unanimous verdict decided that Section 377 is unconstitutional. The court ruled that Section 377 being a colonial-era law infringed the fundamental rights of autonomy, intimacy, and identity of homos*xuals. The apex court thus legalised homos*xuality in India. The Court explicitly overturned its 2013 judgement and held that consensual homos*xual acts would no longer constitute a crime under the framework of the Indian Constitution.
Even though this is a major victory for the LGBT+ rights activists , their fight for equal rights, including same-s*x marriage and serving in the military is not yet over. They still cannot marry and adopt a child. There is no official data on the LGBT+ population in India. There is little awareness about this verdict of the Supreme Court among the masses as a result of which discrimination towards them continues. The ruling is a landmark judgement as it elevated the rights and concerns of the LGBT+ community but it has not been able to bring tolerance and acceptance towards the community in the society. The discrimination against gay and trans people is very much prevalent till now in the socially conservative Indian society.
The Parliament has also passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019. The Act, however, does not allow for self-determination of transgender status. The Act is also silent regarding their reservations in public employment and education. There is a need to reform these provisions of the Act.
The Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis on basis of religion, race, caste, s*x or place of birth. But that prohibition only applies to the government and its instrumentalities. The private sector thus can discriminate with impunity in matters of employment, housing, health and education among other areas. India does not have a comprehensive anti-discrimination code which India needs urgently. The Parliament as well as the courts have not taken up this issue which materially affects the lives of the queer community.
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