The south-western Indian state, Kerala, might become the first to repeal section 377 of the country’s penal code. Even if the Bill doesn’t pass, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for LGBTI people.
Section 377 is a hangover from British Colonial rule and prohibits ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’.
According to reports Law Secretary B G Harindranath has drafted a bill to amend 377 and to be introduced into the state’s Legislative Assembly.
Federal Congress Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor – whose electorate is in Kerala – introduced an anti-discrimination bill into India’s parliament, which if passed would mean the end of 377 nationally.
Tharoor also met with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss Harindranath’s Bill and the possibility of ameding 377 at a state level.
If the Bill was introduced into the assembly and is passed, it would still need Presidential approval.
But LGBTI advocates say it will at least create another path in the fight against 377.
‘It will pave way for the next level of queer movement,’ said Jijo Kuriakose, founder of Queerala, LGBTI support organisation in Kerala.
‘The LGBT community in Kerala hopefully looks forward for the political revamp to happen, which shall set a replicable model for the Indian subcontinent.’