Section 377 of IPC ( Indian Penal Code)is probably one of the most controversial sections of the Indian Constitution. However, most of us are probably unaware of its origins and implications.
What does section 377 of IPC actually deal with?
Before looking at its origins let us see what it actually states :
“Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment of life or with imprisonment of either description which may extend to 10 years and shall be liable to fine.”
Such is the statement and the indication is certainly towards any non-vaginal penile intercourse. However, this mainly victimizes the homosexual individuals.
How did section 377 of IPC come into our constitution?
Its origins can be traced back to 1860.Yes, that was when it was first implemented by Lord Macaulay, as the representative of the British government in India.This was inspired by The Buggery Act of 1555 during Henry VIII s reign which said buggery was against the will of God and Man and in a broader sense criminalised homosexuality.
However, by the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 homosexuality was decriminalised in Britain.While same-sex marriage was made legal by our colonial masters, we continued with the same archaic law even in the 21st century.
What is the current scenario of section 377 of IPC in India?
There have been protests and demonstrations against such a law which curbs the fundamental right of certain sections of the population.And the fruits were seen in the historic judgement of the Delhi High Court in 2009 which decriminalised consensual same-sex relationships between two adults.It was a progressive step but then the most unfortunate happened in 2013 when the Supreme Court in 2013 overturned the decision of the Delhi High Court.It was one of the darkest days in the recent times.
Mr.Sashi Tharoor (MP) introduced a private member’s bill to legalise consensual homosexual relations between two adults but it was rejected even without discussion.
In the 21st century when more than half of the world has legalised same-sex marriage sec377 of IPC still continues to snatch away the basic human rights of thousands of individuals.
Probably before the change of law, the society needs to learn and accept the truth and realize that what two mature adults do within the confines of their bedroom is a matter of privacy and moreover love can never be a criminal offense.
Finally, Create your own path, Live and let others live !!