The Supreme Court on Thursday gave out a landmark verdict by decriminalising the Section 377 and by allowing the adults of same-sex to indulge in consensual sex. Reading out the historic judgment, CJI Dipak Misra said no one can escape their individualism. The following verdict by the Supreme Court came in while it was hearing the petitions filed by 5-high profile petitioners. Apart from the petitioners, a separate petition was filed by an NGO, Naz Foundation in 2009 against the Section 377. The NGO works on creating awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Since gay sex has been decriminalised in India, let us get to know about the five high profile petitioners who fought against the 150-year British era law. The pioneers who fought against Section 377 are Bharatanatyam dancer Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, Ritu Dalmia, Neemrana hotel chain co-founder Aman Nath and actor and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur.
In 2001, Naz Foundation had filed a petition against Section 377 and highlighted the plight of the LGBT community. Later in 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalised gay sex. However, the joy in the LGBT community didn’t last long as the verdict was challenged by several religious groups in the Supreme Court.
In 2016, five petitioners filed petitions with the Supreme Court and urged it to reconsider its 2013 ruling.
The five petitioners who won the war against Section 377 are as follows.
Journalist and a former editor at Maxim Magzine, Sunil Mehra (63) is one of the five petitioners. He is known for directing, anchoring and writing ‘Centrestage’ on Doordarshan.
The second petitioner, Ritu Dalmia (45) is a celebrity chef and an owner of a niche restaurant chain.
A famous classical dancer and the winner of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Navtej Singh Johar (59) had filed a petition along with his partner and said that Section 377 violates the right to life and also challenges the personal liberty mentioned in the Constitution.
Ayesha Kapur who is known for her marvellous acting skills opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Black was one of the petitioners demanding the exit of Section 377.
The owner of Neemrana chain of hotels, Aman Nath is the fifth petitioner. he is also a poet and has authored over 10 books on arts, history and photography.