TOPIC OF THE DAY:- Long road to freedom
In July 2009, however, the Delhi High Court, in a judgment delivered by a bench comprising Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar, rejected this vision, and declared Section 377, insofar as it criminalised homosexuality, unconstitutional. In the court’s belief, the law was patently discriminatory. It offended not only a slew of explicitly guaranteed fundamental rights — in this case, Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 — but also what the judgment described as “constitutional morality”. “Moral indignation, howsoever strong, is not a valid basis for overriding individual’s fundamental rights of dignity and privacy,” the court wrote. “In our scheme of things, constitutional morality must outweigh the argument of public morality, even if it be the majoritarian view.”
At the time this was a grand statement to make. Indeed, barely four years later, the Supreme Court reversed the findings in Naz, and rendered the judgment’s radical vision nugatory. In a shattering verdict, the court, in Suresh Kumar Koushal, once again declared homosexuality an offence. LGTBQ persons, to the court, constituted only a “miniscule minority”, and they enjoyed, in the court’s belief, neither a right to be treated as equals nor a right to ethical independence, a freedom to decide for themselves how they wanted to lead their lives.
But now, in Navtej Singh Johar, the court has restored both the quotidian and the outstanding glories of the judgment in Naz. Unexceptionally, Section 377, it has found, infringes the guarantee of equality in Article 14, the promise against discrimination in Article 15, the right to free expression contained in Article 19, and the pledges of human dignity and privacy inherent in Article 21. But, perhaps, more critically, the court has taken inspiration from Naz in bringing to the heart of constitutional interpretation a theory that seeks to find how best to understand what equal moral status in society really demands, a theory that engages profoundly with India’s social and political history.
MEANINGS AND WORDS
Meaning : clearly; without doubt.
Synonyms : decidedly , notably
Antonyms : unremarkably
Example : “these claims were patently false”
Meaning : recognize a distinction; differentiate.
Synonyms : segregate , favor
Antonyms : confuse
Example : “babies can discriminate between different facial expressions”
Meaning : turn or slide violently or uncontrollably.
Synonyms : abundance , bundle
Antonyms : debt
Example : “the Renault slewed from side to side in the snow”
Meaning : the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect.
Synonyms : decorum , greatness
Antonyms : dishonor
Example : “the dignity of labour”
Meaning : the action of conceiving a child or of one being conceived.
Synonyms : perception , notion
Example : “an unfertilized egg before conception”
Meaning : provide or give (a service, help, etc.).
Synonyms : deliver , provide
Antonyms : take
Example : “money serves as a reward for services rendered“
Meaning : of no value or importance.
Synonyms : inadequate
Antonyms : impactful
Example : “a nugatory and pointless observation”
Meaning : break or cause to break suddenly and violently into pieces.
Synonyms : dash , demolish
Antonyms : build
Example : “bullets riddled the bar top, glasses shattered, bottles exploded”
Meaning : a decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.
Synonyms : decision , answer
Antonyms : accusation
Example : “the jury returned a verdict of not guilty”
Meaning : a breach of a law or rule; an illegal act.
Synonyms : infraction , breach
Antonyms : behavior
Example : “the new offence of obtaining property by deception”
Meaning : actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.).
Synonyms : breach , impose
Antonyms : give
Example : “making an unauthorized copy would infringe copyright”