Tharoor raps BJP, says Section 377 about freedom, not sex

Trivandrum: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday said that by not taking a ‘clear stand’ on scrapping of section 377, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has ‘betrayed Hindu values, as the issue is about freedom and not sex.

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“This is an issue which I keep explaining to people. It’s not about sex, it’s about freedom. Our constitution grants every citizen of India certain rights of equality, liberty, dignity, the right to freedom of expression, their own right to their autonomy over their own bodies. All of these rights are in the Constitution,” Tharoor told media.

“Last August, the Supreme Court also passed a right to privacy, which specifically said that since the right to privacy is embedded in all of us, we also have the right to private intimate behaviour in our own personal lives,” he added.

Taking on similar lines, Tharoor said that he tried to bring a private member’s Bill twice in the Parliament in this regard, but was opposed by the BJP.

“Section 377 is overdue for removal. I tried to bring a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha not just once, but twice. And the BJP MPs shouted it down and voted against me. The only hope for seeing a progressive hope in this area would be through the judicial process. I am very glad. some 35 petitions have come forward in Section 377. I am very confident that the court will do the right thing. The Government of India, unfortunately, has not taken a clear enough stand. The BJP is divided (on this issue),” Tharoor said.

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“The irony is they are the party of Hindutva and Hindu tradition has actually been extremely accommodative of various kinds of alternative forms of sexuality. Our ancient texts are full of references. Temple sculptures show various kinds of sexuality. It’s ironic that the party of Hindutva is betraying Hindu values in order to uphold a colonial-era moral code of the Victorian period enforced on us by the British. It’s so savagely ironic,” he added.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta is representing the Centre before the five-judge constitution bench of the top court, as it is hearing the pleas on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised Section 377, but the order was later set aside by a Supreme-Court bench.

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