India on Thursday leapfrogged itself from a regressive Victorian era to the 21st century as the Supreme Court struck down clauses of Section 377 of the IPC that criminalised gay sex. In the landmark judgment, Justice Indu Malhotra, one among the five judges of the bench that delivered the historical verdict, said "History owes an apology to these people (from LGBTcommunity) and their families".
The gay rights activists and members of the LGBTQ community across India are on a celebratory mode. Social media is flooded with messages and posts hailing the historic verdict. "Is this the most beautiful, romantic judgment ever delivered?" wondered journalist Rana Ayyub on her Twitter handle.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, a vocal advocate of gay rights, was among the firsts to welcome the judgment that struck down the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377. "So pleased to learn that the Supreme Court has ruled against criminalising sexual acts in private," he tweeted. Notably, Tharoor had tried to move a Bill on decriminalising gay sex in Parliament in 2015. However, the motion was defeated in Lok Sabha for 71 against 24 votes.
So pleased to learn that the SupremeCourt has ruled against criminalising sexual acts in private. This decision vindicates my stand on Section 377& on exactly the same grounds of privacy, dignity &constitutional freedoms. It shames those BJP MPs who vociferously opposed me in LS.— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 6, 2018
"We welcome the progressive & decisive verdict from the Supreme Court & hope this is the beginning of a more equal & inclusive society," tweeted the Congress party soon after the verdict.
Curiously, the ruling BJP's social media handles are yet to take note of the verdict on Section 377.
The United Nations also congratulated India on the significant human rights verdict.
Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who had earlier remarked that homosexuality was a tendency and not permanent, opined that the democracy has been strengthened.
Here's how tweeple reacted to the verdict:
However, there were a few dissenting voices, too.