The Supreme Court decriminalised part of Section 377 of the archaic Indian Penal Code that criminalises consensual gay sex today, saying it was irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary. The judgement is historic in the precedent that is set and also ushers in a new slew of freedom that was often muffed under a colonial-era law that found few logical takers today.
But, the fight for freedom and love was not won in a few bouts. Actually, it was a relentless battle that loomed an undetermined future for millions. Five faces were the modern frontiers of this battle for love who came out triumphant after the decision of The Supreme Court today. Let’s get a glimpse of those who were the constant pillars of a movement that will liberate love for millions in the country.
Navtej Singh Johar
Bharatnatyam dancer Navtej Singh Johar met journalist Sunil Mehra for a profile in 1994. The profile didn’t pan out then, but the two moved in together within six months. Eventually, both of them came out as the lead petitioners case against IPC Section 377 in the Supreme Court with their friends Aman Nath, Ritu Dalmia, and Ayesha Kapur as the co-petitioners. Navtej is an acclaimed dancer and is also a Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee. “I am making this petition because as a normal gay man, who considers himself to be a responsible and a worthwhile citizen of this country, Section 377 makes no sense. My orientation is different, that is all, and that is no crime,” Johar told the Business Standard earlier this year.
Sunil Mehra is the former editor of the Indian edition of Maxim magazine and now works as a TV producer and filmmaker, and also runs the Abhyas Trust with Johar, according to India Today.
Ritu Dalmia co-owns restaurant Diva in Delhi and is an acclaimed celebrity chef with multiple books and culinary shows to her credit. “As far as being gay goes, I am a chef first, my sexuality is inconsequential. But when we [hotelier Aman Nath, dancer Navtej Singh Johar, businesswoman Ayesha Kapur and I] filed the PIL against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality, the thought behind it was that rather than complaining about what’s wrong with our system, we’d do something about it. We all have the urge for freedom but our environment is so oppressive we falter sometimes.”, Ritu said in an interview to India Today.
Aman Nath is a co-founder and chairman of the Neemrana chain of hotels. According to his website, he is a historian by education. From an early age, he has written poetry, as also practised graphic design and copywriting for several path-breaking advertising campaigns. He has co-written and authored thirteen large-format illustrated books on art, history, architecture, corporate biography and photography, two of which have won national awards.
Hotelier Keshav Suri is one an executive director of the Lalit Group of Hotels. Keshav Suri, who is openly gay married his long-term partner Cyril Feuillebois in Paris in June and has been a vocal LGBTQ+ activist.
Speaking about Supreme Court verdict, Suri told ANI, “All the lawyers and judges who have worked on this are the people to be interviewed and thanked. I am a nobody but they are the people to be thanked. It is a massive time to celebrate.”
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