Follow us:
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 11, 2013 AT 23:11 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 11, 2013 23:11 IST

Vikram Seth on NDTV's The Buck Stops Here programme presented by Barkha Dutt, responding to today's Supreme Court judgment which reversed the 2009 Delhi High Court judgment that had read down Section 377 and decriminalised homosexuality:

Today is a great day for prejudice and inhumanity. And a bad day for law and love. But law develops and love is resilient. And prejudice and inhumanity will be beaten back. And Law and love will prevail. The judgement is a disgrace.

Is he hopeful?

I am hopeful — not immediately, not the long run, but over the medium run. 

This is a judgment made by two people, two judges, overturning the judgment of the High Court, also a division bench, a two person bench. It overrules a judgment of the High Court which confirmed— does not confer— but confirms the fundamental rights of a group of citizens.  

One other time that I can remember, and this has happened before, as well. There was a judgment during the emergency, the habeas corpus judgement where a full bench, a five member bench of the Supreme Court, brought disgrace upon the institution by again taking away the fundamental rights of Indian citizens that had been confirmed by the High Courts.

All I hope is that this judgment will, within the precincts of the Supreme Court, be cured, or revised or overruled by a larger bench so this stain from the annals of Indian jurisprudence and Indian human rights and our Constitution is washed away.

On how difficult and important it is for him to come out and to speak on his personal life now [Dutt also quoted "Dubious" an old poem by Seth, which was actually written much before his public coming out, so to speak —

Some men like Jack and some like Jill
I’m glad I like them both but still
I wonder if this freewheeling
Really is an enlightened thing,
Or is its greater scope a sign
Of deviance from some party line?
In the strict ranks of Gay and Straight
What is my status: Stray? Or Great?

[Also See this 2006 interview to Outlook: "It Took Me Long To Come To Terms With Myself. Those Were Painful Years"]

Well, I am not a very public person. I don't often talk about my private life. I write about things, either poetry or prose. And it isn't only about gay rights that I have spoken. I have spoken about Apartheid in South Africa. About the Babri Masjid. About what happened in Tiananmen. 

But in this case I felt it was incumbent on me to speak out clearly. Because although I may come out from a fairly liberal family, which anyway had a hardtime accepting things, the fact is so many of us live in countryside and small towns, and come from families that are less broad-minded and would live lives of quiet desperation, even trying to come to terms with themselves, let alone trying to come to terms with people they love, people they have to deal with, society in general. So I didn't think it was right that, because I am too some extent protected by it, that I shouldn't speak out. It was as simple as that. I don't think there was any thing particularly admirable about it... I would not have been able to live with myself if I hadn't. Now as for the question of being gay or being partially gay, someone who's partially gay IS gay. If you love a man, being a man; if you love a woman, being a woman; the fact that you love someone across the gender boundaries so to speak, doesn't make you any the less gay. But people can use any kind of labels they like. But that's my personal issue. I wish you would clear off the question of my personal issue on to the question of how the judges could have taken away, the rights, the prerogatives and the dignities of 5 percent-- of the 50 million Indians, who yesterday were not criminals but today are criminals?

Worse, it gets worse than that. Consider what the law says, this section 377. If a man has consensual oral sex with his wife, he, like any gay person, can be sentenced to imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description— rigorous or simple— that can extend up to 10 years, and also be liable to fine. But of course this is not how the law operates. It is used by people indiscriminately again gay men so that we become a government not of law— of people, of decision makers. And also it operates against women, although the courts say nothing. Sec 377 says nothing. Women who have been happily living together for years have been forcibly torn apart by their families or the police at the instigation of their families. It is a law that takes us back to a position of barbarism.

It is squarely within the rights of the Supreme Court to decide on the rights of equality, and equal treatment under law, non-discrimination and the right to live your life should have been upheld. Don't fling it back to Parliament.

Is he apprehensive that now that it is back with Parliament, we are never going to see it changed.

Well, we will have to wait and see. It is back with Parliament, but I hope the Supreme Court itself, with a larger bench, takes cognisance, of what a stain this would be on them. One can think of a case like the Dred Scott case, where slaves were allowed to be returned to their masters. Or one can think of ADM Jabalpur, where the people were not even allowed to challenge the taking away of their life and liberty by an arbitrary judgement by a subdivisional magistrate. These are cases where the institution has bitterly regretted what has happened and we hope that this will not happen. Because, I hope you know that I come from a legal family, my mother was the first woman chief justice of an Indian High Court. I have the greatest respect for law. Not only love, decency, humanity, tolerance and constitutionality that has lost today— but the law itself

Does he feel like a criminal today?

Well, I wasn't a criminal yesterday but I'm certainly a criminal today and let me say on your channel that I propose to continue to be a criminal. I do not propose to take the permission of their lordships in deciding who to love or who to make love with.

But I am a case of someone who has come to terms with themselves, who is happy with who I am, I am comfortable in my family, in my circle of friends. But I would ask you to consider people who are not in this position of living with a fairly enlightened family, who are bulliable, who can be made to live a life of quiet desperation in small towns in India, in smaller-minded families, who are bewildered and bothered. For them, this judgment comes as a huge threat. Consider the possibility of blackmail, of police harassment. This judgment cannot be allowed to stand

We have all lost as Indians today. But we will get our rights back. As Indians, not just as men, women, gay, straight, whatever.

Watch the video:


Also See:

POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 11, 2013 AT 23:11 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 11, 2013 23:11 IST
Follow us on Twitter for all updates, like us on Facebook for important and fun stuff
TRANSLATE INTO:


Post a Comment
Share your thoughts
You are not logged in, please log in or register
Must See
Daily Mail
Digression
10/D-20
Dec 13, 2013
02:27 AM

7 D Ramki

Your Hyper Paronia about religion and faith only demonstrates your own personal insecurity and that you need the help of the executive to re-affirm your faith in atheism.

I have mentioned about the harm of religion only because it was religious leaders fighting homosexuality.  False beliefs must not be preached. Times have changed. Homosexuality must be decriminalised, porn and prostitution legalised and mythology banned. What paranoia are you talking about?

You are no different from religious fundamentalists in that respect. Thankfully majority of indians do not subscribe to your paronia for religion. You can probably consider getting a citizenship to the People's Republic of North Korea, which is atpresent the only nation in this planet where religion and worship of all gods in any form is tightly regulated/restricted (if not outrightly banned)

 

God belief has done more harm to India and has lived way past its expiry date, and must be banned. If you dont agree with me, why should I 'go away' to North Korea? You are no better than those asking that homosexuals should be banned from practising sex.

Misogynist
Chennai, India
9/D-207
Dec 12, 2013
11:07 PM

 Ramki (#8),

I think it is only matter of time before Homosex is decriminalized.

CON will support this and BJP will say that if political consensus is there we wont object. It will get passed by Voice vote (with conservative elements opposing)

Probably. I was very disappointed to watch Pinky Anand ducking and weaving like Muhammed Ali to avoid answering a simple question on what is the ofiicial BJP position on the subject. Piyush Goyal says one thing and Swamy says another. Is the party transmogrifying into tCongress and waiting on Modi to tell them what to do. If there are different opinions, the leaders should thrash them out and then take a positionn.

But the real issue comes elsewhere.

The real issue is whether you or I or anyone should insist on what anyone does in his private life which does not affect me. Is this constitutional. Two judges of the SC have said it is and for the momment, we have to live with that.To criminalise something on the basis of a statute derived from Victorian morals is absurd.

Once We agree to give legal recognition to Homosex, then all the laws on sexual assault (aka rape) should also get re-defined.

A gay male can thus be theoretically raped (in unnatural way) by a bisexual or lesbian female.

I agree and I have said earlier that IPC 375 should be made gender neutral. It is possible for a man to rape a man, a woman to rape a woman and a woman to rape a man, and all such offences should be dealt with in the same way.

Will our laws be changed to move with the times?

I doubt.

Possibly not. We will wait 25 years and then do what others are doing.

As far as gay marriage, come on, we are a nation where one faith is legally allowing its males to have more than one spouse and allowing marriage before the age of adulthood (18). So we will end up in recognizing gay marriage for Hindus and banning same for Muslims and Christians.

That's an interesting point. Since religion or the religous does not sanction same-sex marriages, if legalised these would come under the Special Marriage Act which currently governs inter-religous marriages.

Which is where I expect and demand BJP to rise to occasion and point to the sheer stupidiity and illegality of allowing some communities to have their own civil code and their own laws that are wildly different from the general population !!!

This is a different issue and is not going to happen in the near future, no matter what our founding fathers thought best for the country. It is something I cannot understand that how people who resist a Uniform Civil Code - not Hindu, not Muslim, not Christian or Sikh or Parsi or whatever, but the best of all - and consider any talk of it as religous intolerance are perfectly amenable to comply with the civil codes of other countries which give no special rights to anyone on the basis of religion.

Bonita
Chennai, India
8/D-182
Dec 12, 2013
08:56 PM

 Bonita,

I think it is only matter of time before Homosex is decriminalized.

CON will support this and BJP will say that if political consensus is there we wont object. It will get passed by Voice vote (with conservative elements opposing)

But the real issue comes elsewhere...

Once We agree to give legal recognition to Homosex, then all the laws on sexual assault (aka rape) should also get re-defined.

A gay male can thus be theoretically raped (in unnatural way) by a bisexual or lesbian female.

Will our laws be changed to move with the times?

I doubt. 

As far as gay marriage, come on, we are a nation where one faith is legally allowing its males to have more than one spouse and allowing marriage before the age of adulthood (18). So we will end up in recognizing gay marriage for Hindus and banning same for Muslims and Christians.

Which is where I expect and demand BJP to rise to occasion and point to the sheer stupidiity and illegality of allowing some communities to have their own civil code and their own laws that are wildly different from the general population !!!

Ramki_Uncensored
Delhi, India
7/D-180
Dec 12, 2013
08:51 PM

 4D/Misogynist,

Your Hyper Paronia about religion and faith only demonstrates your own personal insecurity and that you need the help of the executive to re-affirm your faith in atheism.

You are no different from religious fundamentalists in that respect. Thankfully majority of indians do not subscribe to your paronia for religion. You can probably consider getting a citizenship to the People's Republic of North Korea, which is atpresent the only nation in this planet where religion and worship of all gods in any form is tightly regulated/restricted (if not outrightly banned)

Ramki_Uncensored
Delhi, India
6/D-169
Dec 12, 2013
07:15 PM

 Dinesh Chauksey (#5),

Only morons are criticizing SC. If indian law does not permit homosex then how can SC allow?

You miss the point. The courts, including the SC, do not make laws. However, they rule on whether laws are in accordance with the constitution. or not. In the present instance, two judges of the Delhi HC ruled that IPC 377 was unconstitutional. Now we have two judges of the SC ruling that the Delhi HC judges'decion was wrong. So now we have a tie and its time for a tie breaker.

Incidentally, the people who gave us IPC 377, decriminalised homosexual acts by consenting adults in private in 1967. They are now on the verge of recognising same-sex marriages. Ah well.

Bonita
Chennai, India
Order by
Order by
Short Takes
recent tags
1984 Anti-Sikh Riots
Ashok Mitra
BJP
Congress
Delhi - New Delhi
Gujarat: Riots 2002
Lok Sabha Elections
Manmohan Singh
Muslims
Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
 
bloggers
A. Sanzgiri
Boria Majumdar
Buzz
Dr Mohammad Taqi
Freya Dasgupta
G. Rajaraman
K.V. Bapa Rao
Maheshwer Peri
Namrata Joshi
News Ed
Omar Ali
Our Readers Write Back
Prarthna Gahilote
Shefalee Vasudev
Sundeep Dougal
ARCHIVES
Go
SMTWTFS
12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930
recent comments


ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SUBSCRIBE | ADVERTISING RATES | COPYRIGHT & DISCLAIMER | COMMENTS POLICY

OUTLOOK TOPICS:    a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   
Or just type in a few initial letters of a topic: