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Will Section 377 be amended? May 19, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in Section 377, Times of India.
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Will Section 377 be amended?

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Chennai: Human rights activists across the country are looking to see what a May 19 Delhi High Court will bring.

May 19 is the day when the petition to amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code comes up for final hearing in the Delhi High Court.

The Naz Foundation India, a New Delhi-based organisation that has been spearheading the movement to have the section amended, filed the petition in the high court 2001.

“Gays, lesbians and transgenders are harassed constantly by the police due to the existence of this archaic and unreasonable law,” says Naz Foundation’s executive director Anjali Gopalan. “If consensual sexual activity between two adults is viewed as unnatural under law, then it is a complete violation of a person’s rights,” she says.

A relic of the British Raj, Section 377 states that: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punishable with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.”

“We have asked for a reading down of the law. Right now, since there is no law against child sexual abuse, such cases are also prosecuted under Section 377,” says Anjali. “We have asked to remove consenting adults from the purview of this law.”

The Shakti Center in Chennai is part of the coalition ‘Voices Against 377’, which is also one of the parties to the petition. “No matter what the outcome of the hearing on the Section is, it will be of utmost importance to all of us,” says Aniruddhan Vasudevan of the centre.

timeschennai@timesgroup.com

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