After India’s Supreme Court reinstated the colonial-era law banning homosexual activity, several celebrities in the country joined the rapidly growing protest of the decision.
In 2009 the Delhi High Court overturned Penal Code Section 377, which criminalizes consensual sexual activity between two men, on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and a violation of basic human rights.
However, with the influence of several religious groups, India’s Supreme Court overturned the 2009 ruling and has reinstated the 153-year-old law, which penalizes lawbreakers with sentences of ten years to life in prison.
Many activists and celebrities have turned to social media platforms, such as Twitter, to express their dismay.
Bollywood star Anushka Sharma showed her disappointment with the unexpected ruling through a post on her Twitter page: “So disappointed with the [Supreme Court] verdict,” the actress tweeted. “Freedom is such a deceptive term. Rights are an ambiguous mystery. #scrap377”
The Supreme Court’s ruling on December 11 happened to share the same date as International Human Rights Day, stirring irony.
The former Miss India, Celina Jaitly, pointed out the human rights violation in the court’s decision, tweeting, “377 is in contradiction of three major fundamental rights: Article 14, 15, 21. One day you are legal the next day illegal?”
Director and actor Karan Johar also turned to Twitter to discuss his feelings on the matter. “Sec377 is not just a violation of human rights but also makes democrazy seem like a mirage in our country.” He added, “For all those who think that this judgment gives them a right to talk about their self-appointed [machismo], get a life!”
Actress Nandita Das voiced her opinion at a peaceful protest in Mumbai. “The decision is very regressive and disappointing and we cannot move forward. We need to make our voices heard and it’s only through protests like these that we can make ourselves heard,” Das said, as reported by The Diplomat.
Another celebrity, Anushka Manchanda, shared that many of her friends are in same-sex relationships, which she found to be stronger than heterosexual partnerships. Manchanda went on to explain, “What the [Supreme Court] has done has pushed them back in their closets. We need to move with time. They are a sizeable population and their voices should also be heard.”
Although India’s Supreme Court decision was welcomed by conservative parties, the disapproval of this decision seems to stand with authority as well. The federal government in India is already taking steps to reverse this ruling.