A decade of continued struggle!!

July 2001: On July 7, 2001, matters came to a head. Enthusiastic about enforcing Section 377, Lucknow police raided a park and once again arrested a few men on the grounds of suspected homosexuality. One of them was a health worker with an NGO called the Bharosa Trust, and the police immediately raided the offices of Bharosa, seized documents and arrested nine more people.  The media sensationalised the arrests, describing it as the busting of a sex racket. For the most part, journalism around gay rights then was uninformed, non-nuanced and sensationalist. The nine arrested were denied bail, with the court stating that “the work of the accused is like a curse on society”. It took a month for Lawyers Collective to establish that Bharosa was not involved in a sex racket and bail out the arrested members.

December 2001: The Naz Foundation, a sexual health NGO working with gay men, files a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi high court, challenging the constitutionality of section 377 and calling for the legalisation of homosexuality.

September 2004: The Delhi high court dismisses the case, saying there is no cause of action and that purely academic issues cannot not be examined by the court. A review petition filed by the Naz Foundation is also dismissed a few months later.

February 2006: After the Naz Foundation filed a special leave petition for the case, the supreme court reinstated it in the Delhi high court. India’s ministry of home affairs filed an affidavit against the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

July 2009: In a landmark judgment, a Delhi high court bench consisting of chief justice Ajit Prakash Shah and justice S Muralidhar decided to strike down section 377, saying it violates the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and equality as enshrined in the Indian constitution. But critics, including Suresh Kumar Koushal, a Delhi-based astrologer, challenge the Delhi high court’s decision in the supreme court.