India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
September 07, 2018

9 Of The Most Poignant Lines From The Section 377 Supreme Court Judgement

Text by Megha Shah

We expected it to be a dense read packed with nomenclature, but it actually features some stellar examples of sensitive and progressive writing

In a historic move, yesterday a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises gay sex, because it infringed on the fundamental right to non-discrimination, dignity, and privacy. And just like that, the second most populous country in the world, now stands — legally at least — among the more progressive.

Suitably (and delightfully), the Supreme Court judgment — a 495 page document — which has caught our eye, reads not just like a sensitive and enlightened piece of writing but also a poignant piece of literature. Here are the most poetic bits from the introduction:

  1. ‘Not for nothing, the great German thinker, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, had said, ― “I am what I am, so take me as I am.”
  2. ‘The emphasis on the unique being of an individual is the salt of his/her life. Denial of self-expression is inviting death.’
  3. ‘Shakespeare through one of his characters in a play says ―”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The said phrase, in its basic sense, conveys that what really matters is the essential qualities of the substance and the fundamental characteristics of an entity but not the name by which it or a person is called.’
  4. ‘And the sustenance of identity is the filament of life. It is equivalent to authoring one’s own life script where freedom broadens every day. Identity is equivalent to divinity.’
  5. ‘…recognition of identity with dignity and privacy of human beings constitute the cardinal four corners of our monumental Constitution forming the concrete substratum of our fundamental rights that has eluded certain sections of our society who are still living in the bondage of dogmatic social norms, prejudiced notions, rigid stereotypes, parochial mindset and bigoted perceptions.’
  6. ‘…it is only when each and every individual is liberated from the shackles of such bondage and is able to work towards full development of his/her personality that we can call ourselves a truly free society.’
  7. ‘The first step on the long path to acceptance of the diversity and variegated hues that nature has created has to be taken now by vanquishing the enemies of prejudice and injustice
  8. The natural identity of an individual should be treated to be absolutely essential to his being. What nature gives is natural. That is called nature within.’
  9. ‘An individual in exercise of his choice may feel that he/she should be left alone but no one, and we mean, no one, should impose solitude on him/her.’

Read the whole judgement here

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