Geneva, Sep 7: Michelle Bachelet, the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Friday applauded the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalise homosexuality by repealing a 2013 verdict which had criminalised gay sex.
“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights,” Efe news quoted Bachelet as saying in a statement.
“With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality. I hope that other courts elsewhere in the world will look to India’s example and be encouraged to move in the same direction.
“Throughout the world such laws have led to a litany of abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people including arbitrary arrests, violence, bullying in schools, denial of access to health and harassment at work.
“Such discriminatory laws have no place in the 21st century, and I’m delighted the Indian Supreme Court has recognised that,” she added.
In a historic verdict, a five-judge Constitution Bench on Thursday declared Section 377 of IPC, the penal provision which criminalised gay sex, as “manifestly arbitrary”.
The court said it was no longer an offence for LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community to engage in consensual sex between two adults in private.
The Delhi High Court in July 2009 legalised homosexual acts between consenting adults.
But in December 2013, the Supreme Court set aside the High Court ruling saying that it was for the legislature to look into the desirability of deleting Section 377.