Constitution for equality, but Section 377 denies the right

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NEW DELHI: After stalwarts like Mukul Rohatgi and Arvind Datar had finished and when everyone thought the main arguments had been made, two young lawyers — Menaka Guruswamy and Jayna Kothari — lit up the courtroom with their arguments on how the Victorian-era Section 377 robbed the LGBTQ community of the right to equality.

Guruswamy held the fivejudge bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra spellbound with her powerful presentation on the discrimination the LGBTQ community faces due to Section 377, which criminalises gay sex.

The framers of the Constitution intended to give each citizen the right to equality and against non-discrimination, she said. “How is a consensual sexual relation between man and woman is permitted but it is a crime for a man to have sexual relationship with another consenting man? Is this not discrimination on grounds of sex, which is prohibited by the Constitution,” she asked.

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