Friday, September 25, 2020

Legal News: Hundreds of Indians were arrested last year under Colonial-era anti-gay law

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Hundreds of Indians were arrested last year under Colonial-era anti-gay law

Homosexuality is illegal in India under freshly-reinstated Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which is originally based on the old British Law.

This old law was brought back into effect by the Indian Apex Court in 2013 declaring illegal “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.

According to the data of the National Crime Records Bureau, the arrests under the law have risen since its reinstatement.

There were 1491 arrests in 2015 under section 377. Nearly all of them arrested were men with 207 minors and just 16 women.

It is very difficult to distinguish between people over consenting and non-consenting sexual acts due to the cumbersome nature of the law.

MPs of Prime Minister’s BJP party have consistently resisted for the official cancellation of the law. Also, in March a private member’s bill is voted down by a vote of 58 to 14.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said previously, “We support section 377 of IPC as we believe that homosexuality is an unnatural act that cannot be supported.”

India has been pressurized from a number of countries to lift the ban on gay sex and respect human rights irrespective of sexual orientation.

In the beginning of this year, when Sir Ian McKellen visited the country, he said, “We changed our laws long back in England, but you are still holding on to it to to give protection to your country from western culture”.

He further told the Mumbai Mirror that “India needs to grow up”.

Current status of the law is such that a violation of the law can result in imprisonment up to 10 years.

 

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