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The month of June across the world is celebrated as Pride Month by the LGBT community. Various events such as pride parades are held as a way of recognising the influence LGBT people have had around the world. Why was June chosen? Because it is when the Stonewall Riots took place, way back in 1969. You can read more about the Stonewall Riots here
Hitherto 2019 there was little reason to celebrate Pride Month in India because of the archaic law i.e Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 which criminalises homosexuality. That all changed on 6 September 2018, when a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India unanimously struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, to the extent that it criminalised same-sex relations between consenting adults.
The Sex and the Supreme Court: How the Law is Upholding the Dignity of the Indian Citizen (“the Book”) is a compendium of essays from notable legal minds of our times, personal narratives of being part of the LGBTQ community, and activists.
Editor-Saurabh Kirpal has also penned down two essays in the Book titled Pride versus Prejudice: The Struggle against Section 377 and Love and Marriage.
Buy your copy
The Book is available both in hardcover and Kindle edition. You can collect your copy of the Book as per your preference, I have provided links to both below:
About the Editor-Author
Mr Saurabh Kirpal has a distinguished practice predominately at the Supreme Court of India for over two decades now. He was the counsel for Navtej Johar, Ritu Dalmia and others in the case that led to the reading down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in 2018. He has appeared in a range of matters involving fundamental rights, and his clients cross the political and ideological spectrum. He graduated from St. Stephen's College in Delhi and read law at the University of Oxford. He did his Master of Law at the University of Cambridge. He lives in Delhi with his family and partner Mr Nicolas Bachmann.
As of March 2021, Mr Saurabh Kirpal has been designated as a Senior Advocate where all 31 judges of Delhi High Court confirmed his Senior designation.
About the Book
The book has a collection of 12 essays by different authors which are as follows:
- Pride versus Prejudice: The Struggle against Section 377 By Saurabh Kirpal, Senior Advocate. The essay traces its journey to four separate concurring opinions that ultimately read down Section 377.
- We will Always Be Who We Are! By Keshav Suri, Activist and hotelier.* The essay is a personal narrative about the Author's journey as a member of the LGBTQ+community and the fight for an equal India.
- I am a Chef Who Happens to Be a Lesbian By Ritu Dalmia,Celebrity Chef. The essay is a personal narrative on being a lesbian in India and what freedom means without the freedom to love equally.
- Transgender Rights and Wrongs By Justice M.B. Lokur, Former Supreme Court of India. The essay pens the issue of the rights of transgender and how the Transgender Persons Act, 2019 has impacted the 2014 judgement.
- From the Margins to the Mainstream By Activist Zainab Patel. The essay contemplates the complexities of discrimination faced by the transgender community and her journey.
- Love and Marriage By Saurabh Kirpal, Senior Advocate. The essay provides valuable insight into one's right to choose a partner. The premiss being if the Constitution of India protects the life and liberty of an individual that as a natural extension or manifestation should also encompass one’s right to choose a partner.
- From Adultery to Sexual Autonomy: The constitutional Potential of Joseph Shine By Supreme Court lawyers Dr Menaka Guruswamy And Arundhati Katju. The essay discusses the constitutional challenge of the criminalization of adultery brought by the Joseph Shine petition.
- The Beast In Our Midst: How India’s Metoo Movement Broke The Silence On Workspace Sexual Harassment By Activist and journalist Namita Bhandare. The essay traces its journey to the social movement against workplace sexual harassment colloquially or socially referred to as #Metoo.
- Triple Talaq By Senior Advocate Madhavi Dhivan. The essay provides a rare insight into a batch of writ petitions challenging the age-old practice of Triple Talaq before the Supreme Court of India and its verdict.
- Understanding Muslim Law In The Modern Context By Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Justice B.D. Ahmed. The essays portray the misconceptions that surround Shariah and Islamic jurisprudence.
- An Axis Shift: A Critique of the Sabarimala Case By Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India Mukul Rohatgi. The essay traces another watershed case relating to the further emancipation of women in India concerning religion. Supreme Court of India ruled that all Hindu pilgrims regardless of gender can enter.
- The Growing Significance Of Dignity Jurisprudence In The Field Of Human Rights By Former judge of the Supreme Court of India Justice A.K. Sikri. The essay traces the journey of the basic notions of human rights and how they have evolved.
As you may gather from above the Book’s underlying theme are the various landmark judgements pronounce by the Supreme Court of India relating to gender-based issues. Very often books based on legal issues there is often a temptation to use the legalese /legal jargon or to be as clinical as most lawyers do. Here full marks should be given to the Editor who has ensured the essays without the legalese language for any person looking to read and familiarise himself or herself with the contemporary gender-based issues.
👍👍 I highly recommend this book both for legal and layperson alike.