The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to hear the plea filed by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) LGBT alumni associations seeking the scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality. The apex court, however, has not fixed any date for hearing the plea.
A group of present and past students of IITs across the country on Monday moved the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the IPC that criminalises homosexual activity and other unnatural sex.
The petitioners include a group of 20 students, claiming to represent more than 350 LGBT alumni, students, staff and faculty from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The petitioners have argued that the existence of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code causes them "mental trauma and illnesses, such as clinical depression and anxiety and has relegated some of them to second-class citizenship".
Coming from different parts of the country with diverse religious, age, sex, and other backgrounds, the petitioners said that Section 377 legitimises the stigma associated with sexual orientation and its expression -- something which is essential, fundamental, intrinsic and innate to an individual.
Contending that the Section violates Articles 14, 15, 16, 19 and 21 of the Constitution, the petitioners said: "The silence of our legislative wing and its ineffectiveness to even consider debating the need for the existence of this law is shameful, to say the least."
"The stigma, silence and violence that the Section brings in its wake has led to some of us dealing with suicidal tendencies and some others attempting suicide in the past," the petitioners said in a press note.
The group of over 350 LGBT IITians have come together through an informal pan-IIT LGBT group Pravritti which they say is a "safe space for us to interact, connect and network".
Noting that despite having studied in the best scientific institutions and having worked with the best of the minds, the petitioner group said that Section 377 had left a "very deep impact on our lives".
"One can only imagine the amount of suffering and pain that Section 377 has caused and continues to cause in the lives of LGBT individuals across the country," the statement said.
(With inputs from PTI)