20 IIT Students And Alumni Move To SC To Remove Section 377

20 students and alumni of the IITs have filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India against Section 377 of the IPC that criminalizes homosexuality.

Out of the 20 petitioners, there are five students of different IITs while the rest are alumni. There are two homosexual women petitioner and one transgender person. A 19-year-old student from IIT-Delhi is the youngest petitioners.

All the petitioners are members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community. Their group has 350 LGBT alumni, students and faculty members from 12 IITs of India and they come under an informal network popularly called Pravriti.

All the petitioners are academically sound and they are hailing from different parts of the country. Some of them are even hailing from far off small town Korba in Chhattisgarh and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. The petitioners want to repeal of Section 377. They argue that it violates their constitutional rights to equality, life, personal liberty and put in discrimination.

Their writ petition is accepted for hearing in the Supreme Court. The first hearing of the petition is scheduled before the Court breaks for the summer vacation.

What the IITians Say-

• An alumnus of IIT-Delhi said that IITs have a strong brand and also they represent ordinary people from different parts of the country with the diverse background.

• Another petitioner from Mumbai IIT said that people know the reputation of IIT students and they want to use this tag to help neglected LGBT people in India.

• Another petitioner of from IIT Kanpur said they are getting lots of confidence and as there are a number of other petitioners and them likely to get a positive outcome.

This is the latest in a series of such petitions filed by various social organizations and individuals after 2013. The other prominent petitioners that have appealed in Supreme Court to repeal the act are-

• Bharat Natyam dancer Navtej Singh Johar,

• LGBT rights activists Ashok Row Kavi, Akkai Padmashali,

• Keshav Suri, Executive director of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group

Legal attempts to decriminalize homosexuality in India started in 2009 when the Delhi High Court admitted a plea by the NGO Naz Foundation. In its landmark judgment, the High Court declared Section 377 to be unconstitutional and violation of the rights of consenting adults. But in 2013, Supreme Court struck down the Delhi High Court judgment of 2009. Again re-criminalized homosexuality and uphold Section 377. Ever since members of the LGBT community came forward to file fresh petitions to fight for their rights.

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Pranab Saikia is a Delhi based Journalist with 12 years of experience in national media at different positions, writes on civic problems, politics, business, international relations and page 3