Indian Hour

Will LGBTQIA+ ever be free? A big question mark on selective rights for LGBTQIA+

India is a democratic nation where no individual is deprived of their rights, but apparently, the situation seems inconsistent. India now hinders the interests of specific sexes in the country. The plea for same-sex marriages is in picture view for the Supreme Court and it is hearing some petitions appealing for formally recognizing same-sex marriages. LGBTQIA+ refers to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual. The ‘+’ sign connecting the term expands the scope of adding more identities which are yet unrecognized.

In October 2022, the supreme court of India raised a green flag for hearing the case of legalizing same-sex marriages and the much-desired freedom to wed the person of one’s choice needs to apply to (LGBTQIA+) people as well. The nine pending petitions before the Kerala and Delhi High Courts were transferred to the Supreme Court of India for a fair and uniform decision. On the other hand, the Central government has opposed legalizing same-sex marriage, claiming that it would completely upset the delicate balance between individual rights and widely held social norms. The legal wrangling could go a long way. The hearing will be live-streamed from 18th April 2023 and handled by a five-bench panel. The case will now be constitutional after considering the law’s prospective amendments.

Although the country has no restrictions for the LGBTQIA+ community, they face some legal and social difficulties that are usually not faced by non-LGBTQIA+. It is mentioned in the preamble under the constitution of India that justice, liberty and equality are promoted to all citizens without any discrimination. This means justice to practice fundamental rights such as social, economic and political equality, where no specific class is given or deprived of special privileges, and liberty to all the citizens to make their own life choices and can follow certain behaviour. Based on the equality displayed in the nation, the rights mentioned above also apply to the LGBTQIA+ community as besides the above autonomies, the law even prohibits sex-based discrimination. Furthermore, the law of the land recognizes marriages, and its meaning is based on Indian values, which prioritize the couple being a man and a woman, focusing on the prospective future of starting a family.

Considering the overall scenario, a question has repeatedly been raised by the pro-LGBTQIA+ cadre, people of this group ‘why should there be a need to get this event approved by the authorities?’ The particular community is not denied other fundamental rights but the right to marry. Article 12 of the Human Rights Act states and secures the right of women and men of marriageable age to marry and commence their families in their best interest and none should be interfered with privacy, family, or home with no attacks upon reputation and honour. Despite the flourishing stage of the particular community in the country, the demand for such a right raises concern about the nation’s constitutional practices and system.

With the recent development in 2023, the requests of the aforementioned group across a few Asian nations have been accepted, and people there live freely. Countries like Cyprus, Taiwan and Israel have passed various rights for LGBTQIA+, such as recognizing same-sex relationships. However, the situation in several other nations is not very supportive of such rights and has enacted protections and even declared them as punishable with the death penalty. In 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalized gay sex resulting in no legal restrictions against gay sex or expression. Moreover, their rights are equal to those of married couples in the country.

Under the panel’s view, numerous laws and statutory provisions must be altered to support same-sex marriage decisions in India, which may impact rights such as the right to adoption. Currently, LGBTQIA+ can apply for adoption as a single parent to Central Adoption Review Authority (CARA). Along with this, the right to inheritance and property at present is in favour of such individuals, which reflects the absolute right to inherit family property unless otherwise disqualified. The overall perspective reflects that the case should also come to the notice of the parliament as it will include some obligatory changes in the law, the authority to which lies with the legislation. The parliament will then further look into the interests of the particular group, pass the law and monitor the amendments and the government’s actions in the same regard. The concern is yet to be addressed and the public is waiting for justice to turn out.

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