In a landmark judgment, the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court unanimously, on 6 September, partially struck down the British-era law which criminalised consensual homosexual sex in India.

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While reading his judgment on Section 377 of the IPC, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra noted, “I am what I am. So take me as I am. No one can escape from their individuality”.

Keshav Suri, the Executive Director of the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, filed a petition in the Supreme Court (SC) demanding scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalises homosexuality.

The 33-year-old Suri is the son of the late hotelier, Lalit Suri, the founding chairman and owner of Bharat Hotels, which runs the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. The company runs close to a dozen luxury properties in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bengaluru, London, and other cities.

Suri identifies as a part of India’s LGBTQ community and married his partner Cyril Feuillebois at a ceremony in Paris.

“It’s not just about decriminalising, it’s also about every citizen, every consenting adult in this country having a right to choose their sexual orientation, a right to choose their partner, a right to dignity and a right to living without a sense of fear that they are going to be arrested,” said Suri.

“The State or Centre Can’t Enter Anybody’s Bedroom”

Though the SC has heard several petitions in the past to decriminalise homosexuality, Suri brought up the shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida in 2016 which started his thought process. Suri said that the biggest factor that helped in the filing of the petition was the privacy law, that says that neither the state nor the Centre has a right to enter anybody’s bedroom.

Section 377 was drafted by India’s British administration in the 1860s, and there have been many attempts in recent years to have it scrapped, citing it as a direct violation of the fundamental rights promised under the constitution.

In 2013, the country’s LGBTQ community suffered a blow after the supreme court overturned a 2009 order by the Delhi high court that sought to legalise gay sex. However, the supreme court has overturned that decision and scrapped Section 377.

Akhil was raised by movies, television, and the internet. A never-ending source of absolutely useless information. He would tell you more, but he was distracted by something shiny