HAF Urges Indian Supreme Court to Strike Down Outdated Section 377
February 3, 2016 (Washington, D.C.) -- As the Indian Supreme Court has called upon a five-judge bench to re-evaluate the constitutionality of Indian Penal Code Section 377 (IPC 377), leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) urged the court to strike down its 2013 decision that upheld this remnant code from the British Era, which criminalized “unnatural sexual acts” including consensual sex between same sex couples. The Delhi High Court struck down the provision in 2009, but the Supreme Court reversed that decision in 2013.
"The Supreme Court’s unfortunate decision in 2013 criminalized and interfered with private consensual relationships between thousands of Indian same-sex couples, thereby impinging on their personal liberty and denying them equal protection under the law," said Harsh Voruganti, HAF Executive Council Member. "We hope that the Supreme Court will use this opportunity to strike down this outdated laws."
HAF has previously spoken out against IPC 377 and urged the broader acceptance of all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Foundation’s statement joined that of spiritual leaders who argued that Hinduism does not sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
"The essential core of Hindu teachings is that an individual's value is not based on his or her sexual orientation, but on one's ability to transcend the body, senses, and ego," said Swaminathan Venkataraman, HAF Executive Council Member and the primary author of the widely acclaimed articles, Hinduism and Homosexuality and A Hindu Approach to LGBT Rights. "As such, Hinduism does not provide a fundamental spiritual reason to reject or ostracize homosexuals."
The Supreme Court’s decision to reconsider the constitutionality of IPC 377 joined other recent decisions supporting the civil rights of LGBT individuals. Two years ago, the Supreme Court recognized the civil rights and identity of transgender individuals in India.