What is 377 section?
Is a section of the Indian Penal Code introduced in 1861 during the British rule of India? Modeled on the Buggery Act of 1533, it used to criminalize sexual activities "against the order of nature”. In a historic judgment on Sept 6, 2018, Supreme Court of India held that its application to consensual homosexual sex between adults was unconstitutional. However, at the same time, the court made it clear that it would apply to "unnatural" sexual acts such as "bestiality". The bench termed the "tyranny" of section 377 “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.
Perhaps it is just a matter of age. Young progressives see the decriminalization of homosexuality as an entitlement. I see it, as I do all personal law, as a matter that needs to be negotiated with society. Social norms—birth, marriage, death, inheritance—from which personal law flows are not immutable truths.
They evolve, as society does, with technology, trade, and travel. Each age has its definitions of normal and deviant. I do not suggest that these definitions are necessarily fair or equitable. Only that arriving at these are legitimate matters of public debate and contest. A century back, child marriage was the norm, gay marriage unthinkable. Perhaps inconceivably to someone in the 1920s, our norms today have flipped. Similarly, we can only imagine the customs of the future. But just as we don’t want to be shackled by laws that reflect that more of an age past, nor would the generations who succeed us.
Whereas most of the new generation considers love & relationships should be their right to choose, the court has finally agreed with them with Act 377.