The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to review its own four-year-old verdict criminalising consensual sexual relationship in private between adults of same gender was triggered five months ago, when a 9-judge bench had ruled that the LGBTQ community members’ sexual orientation had an inseparable relationship with their fundamental right to privacy.
Here are the five famous personalities who convinced the apex court:
- Navtej Singh Johar – A leading Bharatnatyam dancer and recipient of 2014 Sangeet Natak Academy award for ‘Creative Dance/Choreography’. Served as Performance Director of Commonwealth Parade for the Queen’s golden jubilee celebrations in London in 2002. Set up dance training programme along with musician Justin McCarthy. Taught in Michigan University in 2010 and now teaches at Ashoka University. Co-founder and artistic director of Studio Abhyas, a centre for yoga, dance and care for stray animals and urban development in New Delhi.
- Sunil Mehra – Noted journalist, former editor of Indian edition of Maxim magazine, Mehra had been in a committed relationship with Johar for two decades. Between 1999-2001, he directed, produced, wrote and anchored 86 episodes of ‘Centrestage’ on DD Metro and DD International. He with Johar co-founded Studio Abhyas.
- Ritu Dalmia – Well-known chef, author, restaurateur and TV personality, Dalmia set up ‘Diva’ chain of restaurants and her ‘Diva Italian’ has won many acclaims. Won the Woman Chef of the Year award in 2007. She has authored popular and acclaimed Italian cookbooks including ‘Italian Khana’.
- Aman Nath – Hotelier, writer and historian, Aman Nath with his late partner Francis Wacziarg were among the founding members of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). Nath says he was in a committed relationship with Wacziarg for about 23 years till the latter’s death in 2014. He and his partner established acclaimed chain of Neemrana Hotels, which restored, preserved and used several historical properties. He and his partner were awarded Lifetime achievement award by the ministry of tourism in 2014. Nath has written 15 books on arts & crafts, culture and historical architecture of India.
- Ayesha Kapur – After doing a double Major from Clark University, Massachusetts, she returned to India in 1998 and worked in nascent e-commerce sector. Within a decade, she became business head but quit due to fear of her sexual orientation being discovered. Despite revealing her preference, she says she is unable to accompany or be accompanied by her committed partner to social and family occasions. Works as a consultant in food and beverages industry.
By-Nikita Goel, Convenor, Student Reporter Committee, INBA