“Unnatural offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
In simple words – consenting sexual acts between any two adults of the same sex is prohibited by this section and is a punishable offence. This section also criminalises any sexual act done against the order of nature, activities like anal intercourse, fellatio etc., even if the activities involve two opposite sex that is male and female. Sexual activities involving animals known as bestiality and other such ‘unnatural’ practices too fall under the ambit of this section.
Homosexuality, meaning “sexual attraction to people of one’s own sex”, it is a taboo in Indian society which is deeply rooted in the minds of the people. The traditions and customs of the Indian society which had been highly influenced by the religious activities are the vital reasons to not accept homosexuality.
In Hinduism, homosexuality was regarded as one of the possible expressions of human desire. There had been several instances where Hindu mythic stories have portrayed homosexual experience as natural and joyful. There are carvings, paintings, literature, commentaries which depicts the involvement of both, male and female in homosexual intercourse.
Rigveda, one of the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism says ‘Vikriti Evam Prakriti’ meaning what seems unnatural is also natural. History of Indian subcontinent indicates the ubiquity of homosexuality and that it was not imperatively considered inferior in any way until about 18th century.
Homosexuality has recently gained some acceptance in the society. As the upcoming generation is not so conservative, they have started to accept such change. There have been instances where heterosexual people have showed their support for the welfare of this upcoming community.
Now the issue in front of us is whether homosexual practices between consenting adults, in private, should be criminalised under section 377 of Indian Penal Code or not. Section 377 so far criminalises sexual activities between two consenting adults, but it violates the fundamental rights of life and liberty and the right of equality guaranteed under the Constitution of India. In a judgment of 2009 by Delhi High Court, section 377 has declared asviolative of fundamental rights.It curtails the right to privacy of a person. Sexual orientation between two consenting adults is a private matter, which takes place between four walls in private. One can never have privacy with the involvement of third party.
There are certain instances where the heterosexual people have supported the LGBT community to raise them from this taboo. Countries like Germany, Colombia, United States of America, Greenland and many more have already legalised same-sex marriage. India being a developing country and with the changing world should legalise LGBT and should work for their welfare in the society. The conservative thinking of the stereotype society should evolve.
The society should accept the LGBT community for who they are, they should be recognised as a part of the growing societies. Equal treatment and opportunities should be given to them which would help them to build their personalities as an individual to the society.