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Pride Month 2022: A timeline of India’s LGBTQ movement’s struggle against Section 377

In India, homosexual intercourse was declared an unnatural and a criminal offence under Chapter 16, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

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Pride Month 2022

Humans, unapologetically humans!

June is here and so is Pride Month. Every year, the LGBTQ community across the globe come together to celebrate their existence and sexuality in the month of June which is referred to as Pride Month.

LGBTQI is an abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex community. Over the year, the movement has gained wide recognition and has also witnessed celebrities coming out and extending their support to the community. However, the debate on the legal rights of the LGBTQ community continues.

Pride Month

Pride Month began in 1969 when the gay rights parade in New York City met with resistance from the NYPD. This triggered the first pride parade on June 28. The parade took place to make people aware of their rights, choices, and struggles of the LGBTQI community.

In India, homosexual intercourse was declared an unnatural and a criminal offence under Chapter 16, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Even after independence, homosexuality remained a criminal offence.

A timeline of India’s LGBTQ movement’s struggle against Section 377

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On November 26, 1949, the Indian Constitution came into effect which introduced Article 14, the right to equality, Article 15, the prohibition of discrimination based on religion, caste, race, sex or place of birth, and Article 21, the right to privacy and personal dignity to all citizens. These articles speak about equality, privacy, and discrimination yet homosexuality remained a criminal offence in India.

In July 2009, the Delhi High Court made a landmark decision and Justice Shah and Justice S Muralidhar struck down Section 377 of the IPC. However, on December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the decision ruled out by the Delhi High Court and stated that amending or repealing Section 377 should be looked upon by the Parliament and not the judiciary.

On January 28, 2014, the Supreme Court dismissed a review petition filed by the Central Government, NGO Naz Foundation and others and ordered to reconsider the December 11 verdict on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. However, a two-judge bench passed the popular National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgement by which the transgender community were given the right to be called the third gender.

On December 18, 2015, the senior Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor, introduced a Bill to Lok Sabha for the decriminalisation of Section 377. But, the Bill was rejected by the house by a vote of 71-24.

On February 2, 2016, the Supreme Court and a five-judge bench reviewed a petition by Naz Foundation.

In 2018, the Supreme Court reconsidered its 2013 decision on homosexuality. On July 10, a five bench led by Justice Dipak Misra and comprising of Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Indu Malhotra began hearing petitions that challenged Section 377. The petitioners argued that section 377 violated fundamental rights mentioned in the Indian Constitution.

It was on September 6, 2018, when the Supreme Court made a historic decision to strike down Section 377 and decriminalised homosexuality. India finally bid adieu to the 150-year-old rule.

Cut to 2022, the struggle of the LGBTQ+ community continues.

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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah deletes post on reservation for Kannadigas in private sector after backlash from business community

the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday deleted his social media post on the reservation Bill, which reserves seats in groups C and D for Kannadigas only in the private sector, after backlash from the business community.

Announcing the Bill on X, Siddaramaiah said the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

The post further read, “It is our government’s wish that the Kannadigas should avoid being deprived of jobs in the land of Kannada and should be given an opportunity to build a comfortable life in the motherland.” He said that his government is a pro-Kannada government and their priority is to look after the welfare of Kannadigas.

Later after criticism from industry leaders, the Kartnataka CM deleted the post and then shared another post in Kannada that talks about giving reservation of 50% for administrative posts and 75% for non-administrative posts for Kannadigas in private industries and other organizations of the State.

Speaking to the media, Labour Minister Santosh Lad said the government is trying to introduce a law to give preference to locally available skills. He added that at the management level, it has been decided to provide reservations to 50% of the people.

At the non-management level, it has been decided to provide work to 70%, he said. If a particular skill is not available, people can be outsourced and they can be given work here. But the Government is trying to bring in a law to give preference to locally available skills, the minister further added.

In response to the government’s announcement about the passage of the Bill, industry leaders and unions voiced concerns that it would impede industry growth by pushing away skilled workers not protected by the quota. Nasscom, the apex body for the technology industry in India, stated that the Bill was “deeply disturbing”.

Mohandas Pai, a Padma Shri Awardee and former CFO and Board Member at Infosys, also said that the government must focus on increasing jobs, training, and educating Kannada youth instead of driving away investment. Karnataka is India’s best state, adding that he said we should not destroy this. Pai termed the Bill as ‘discriminatory, regressive, and against the Constitution’ even as he attacked the ruling Congress for the decision.

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Maharashtra sends controversial IAS trainee Puja Khedkar back to academy

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Trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar, who has been the eye of the storm, has been asked by the Maharashtra Government to report back to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie.

A letter from Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary Nitin Gadre stated LBSNAA has suspended district training of Khedkar and has called her back for further necessary action. The letter said she has been relieved from the district training programme of the state government of Maharashtra and has been asked to join the academy by July 23 under any circumstances.

Khedkar had made it to the headlines for her alleged demands of a separate office and official car, besides using a beacon on her private luxury car without official sanction.

Earlier this month, a report regarding Khedkar and her father’s objectionable behaviour was sent by Pune District Collector Suhas Diwase to the state government.

Reports said Khedkar completed her MBBS and then appeared for the UPSC exams several times. According to her, she joined the IRS in 2019. In a later interview she said she could not join the IRS since there were some technical problems in the OBC allocation of her seat.

Thereafter, in November 2021, she applied and got appointed as the assistant director in the Sports Authority of India. She then appeared for the Civil Services Examination in 2021 and cleared the preliminary exam, the main examination, and the interview, securing the 821st rank.

However, she failed to present herself for a medical test to confirm disability claims of blindness and mental illness due to which she was getting benefits under the category of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities. Consequently, this persisted as a legal battle in Central Administrative Tribunal against UPSC.

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Supreme Court issues notice to CBI, ED on Manish Sisodia bail plea

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Manish Sisodia

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the bail pleas moved by former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The Supreme Court’s decided to issue notice to the two agencies after arguments on Sisodia’s petitions for bail in two cases relating to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. The court granted two weeks to the agencies to file their views.

“Views of agencies have to be heard before any decision is taken,” said Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, pointing at the seriousness of the charges slapped on Sisodia. The former Delhi Deputy CM has been under judicial remand since February 2023 over corruption and money laundering charges.

According to Sisodia’s counsel, the charges against him are politically motivated and lack enough evidence. The counsel had sought bail on medical grounds, to which the CBI or ED objected, saying his release might hamper the ongoing investigation into the case by influencing the witnesses or tampering with evidence.

According to the CBI and ED, Sisodia’s involvement in the liquor policy scheme was responsible for substantial state revenue loss and worked in favor of private liquor vendors.

Manish Sisodia, known for his transformational work in the field of education under the Delhi government, is not the only Aam Aadmi Party leader in jail. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Satyendar Jain are also behind bars. While Kejriwal is jailed in connection with the liquor policy case, Jain is in prison for corruption charges.

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