Section 377 verdict: SC quoted philosophers, writers; took 50 mins to read judgement

It took nearly 50 minutes for the Supreme Court to read out its judgement deciding the fate of 'miniscule fraction' of persons belonging to LGBTQ community as it struck down the 158-year-old colonial law criminialising consensual unnatural sex.

Section 377 verdict: SC quoted philosophers, writers; took 50 min to read judgement
LGBT community supporters celebrate after the Supreme Court verdict which decriminalises consensual gay sex, in Bengaluru. PTI Photo
By: PTI
Updated: 06 Sep 2018 09:45 PM
NEW DELHI: It took nearly 50 minutes for the Supreme Court to read out its judgement deciding the fate of 'miniscule fraction' of persons belonging to LGBTQ community as it struck down the 158-year-old colonial law criminialising consensual unnatural sex.

A five-judge constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra had assembled at around 11.33 am and started pronouncing the judgement at 11.35 am in a packed courtroom.


The maximum time was taken by the Chief Justice to pronounce the verdict and the entire process ended at around 12.25 am.

The CJI, who penned the verdict for himself and on behalf of Justice Khanwilkar, made it clear at the outset that there were four separate judgements but the views were "concurring".

The CJI read out the operative part of the verdict and the conclusion arrived at by him.

He was followed by Justice Nariman, Chandrachud and Malhotra.

Justice Malhotra took the minimum time to read out the judgement and she pronounced only the concluding paragraphs of her 50-page verdict.

Let us move from darkness to light, from bigotry to tolerance and from the winter of mere survival to the spring of life as the herald of a New India to a more inclusive society. This was one of the several quotable quotes in the historic Supreme Court judgement.

The lines were penned by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar, who wrote the main 166-page judgement, observing that "denial of self-expression is inviting death".

Thinkers, philosophers, writers, poets from ancient history to contemporary times were mentioned in the landmark verdict on decriminalisation of consensual sex between two consenting adults.

CJI Misra and Justice Khanwilkar referred to German thinker, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer, John Stuart Mill and writer and playwright William Shakespeare in their judgement to deal with the issue of individuality and freedom of expression.

"To change the societal bias and root out the weed, it is the foremost duty of each one of us to stand up and speak up against the slightest form of discrimination against transgenders that we come across.

"Let us move from darkness to light, from bigotry to tolerance and from the winter of mere survival to the spring of life as the herald of a New India to a more inclusive society", the CJI and Justice Khanwilkar wrote.

Justice R F Nariman, who wrote a separate concurring verdict, referred to Irish poet Oscar Wilde and said his trial paved the way to consider the law and practice relating to homosexual offences in Victorian-era England.

While reading out the judgment, Justice D Y Chandrachud quoted the lyrics of 'Ashes Of The Gay' by Leonard Cohen and mentioned Vikram Seth's poem "Through Love's Great Power", which was written after the apex court had refused to review its decision which had criminalised gay sex in 2013.

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