India just took a step forward in the right to choose who you love.
On Wednesday, Sept. 5, India’s Supreme Court ruled to abolish Section 377 of the Penal Code, a colonial-era law that criminalized anal and oral sex. It was argued that this law not only criminalizes homosexuality, but is an invasion of privacy as well.
“Bodily autonomy is individualistic,” Chief Justices of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar stated in their decision. “Expression of intimacy is part of right to privacy.”
Section 377 criminalized “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” since 1861. Anyone found guilty could face up to 10 years in jail. After a court ruling on another case last summer that declared that the right to privacy is part of the Right to Life and Personal Liberty, a coalition formed to petition to decriminalize consensual gay sex. The case against Section 377, which had been at the Supreme Court since July, was passed unanimously since the law was “arbitrary.”
‘We have to vanquish prejudice, embrace inclusion, and ensure equal rights,’ Misra said in his judgement.