NEW DELHI, - India's top court scrapped a colonial-era ban on gay sex on Thursday in a landmark judgment that sparked celebrations across the country where gay sex had been punishable by prison for up to 10 years.
"They would say "we'll call you back" or "you don't have the right experience for this job", Balaji said.
The bench said the courts must protect the dignity of an individual as right to live with dignity is recognized as a fundamental right.
But in January this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge by a clutch of high-profile Indians who said the law created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the world's largest democracy. A petition challenging the 2013 decision eventually led the Supreme Court to establish a panel of five of the country's most senior judges to review the constitutionality of section 377. It noted that India is a signatory of global treaties on rights of LGBTQ and it was obligatory to adhere to them.
CJI Misra, while reading out the judgement, said: "Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults ─ homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians ─ can not be said to be unconstitutional", India Today reported.
The Supreme Court verdict on gay sex, widely acclaimed as historic, has held out hope of equal and fair treatment for members of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).
"So many companies have been using Section 377 as a figleaf to cover their own homophobia", he said.
The court also ruled against the discrimination on basis of an individual's sexual orientation.
Prakash Das, another LGBTQ rights activist from Guwahati said that they have been fighting this struggle for the past four years in the city when they had organised the first LGBTQ pride parade in the city. On Twitter, several Bollywood celebrities applauded Supreme Court's decision.
Many commentators said the five justices may have opened the doors to demands for greater civil rights for long-marginalised gays and lesbians, including same-sex marriage.
The Congress, during the first term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, had opposed the decriminalization of homosexuality with two of its key ministries-home and health-contradicting each other.
Strongly repealing Section 377, he added that "denial of self-expression is like death". "The focus must now be on ensuring access to justice, including remedy; effective investigations of acts of violence and discrimination; and effective access to economic, social and cultural rights".
Justice Chandrachud, while reading out the operative portion of his verdict, said members of LGBTQ community were targeted and exploited due to Section 377. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. One thing we have learned from the dilly-dallying of courts over the past decade is the fact that even when we have freedom, it could be taken away at any time.
It was in 2009 when the Delhi High court took a look on the same issue, however, the bench of the Supreme court has controversially undone the rule stating that it was best to leave parliament with the changing mores.
Arun Kumar, a spokesman for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said Indian society "traditionally does not recognise" gay relationships, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
Whole bench unanimously declared the sec 377 of IPC as unconstitutional.