Nearly 1,500 arrested under anti-gay law in India


Delhi Pride 2015 (Pic: Akhil Kumar / Facebook)

Matters seems to be going from bad to worse for the LGBT community in India, with news that 1,491 people were arrested in 2015 under the law criminalising homosexuality.

According to the Times of India, the National Crime Records Bureau of India revealed that the arrests represent an increase of 17% compared to 2014.

Astoundingly, 207 (almost 14%) of those arrested by police for contravening Section 377 were minors while 16 were women.

The report, however, also revealed that 814 cases involved under age victims. This indicates the ambiguous and broad nature of the anti-gay law, which puts adult same-sex consensual sex on the same footing as child abuse.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code punishes “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” with imprisonment for life.

In 2013, the Indian Supreme Court shocked the world when it overturned a ground breaking 2009 ruling by the Delhi High Court that repealed Section 377.

In December last year, retired senior judge and Chairperson of India’s Law Commission, Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, stated that the court had made a “mistake” by not striking down the criminalisation of homosexuality.

“Sexual minorities have been reduced to so called unapprehended felons after the judgement,” Shah said, adding that the court had “criminalised the existence of a class of people who are now condemned to live in shadow of fear.”

The Supreme Court has since agreed to consider a petition requesting a review of the ruling. The petition specifies that it only seeks to decriminalise sex between consenting adults of the same sex.

Sexual abuse against children is illegal in India under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

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