Gay sex decriminalised in India

Jul 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)

Gay sex decriminalised in India

BBCNews

A court in the Indian capital, Delhi, has ruled that homosexual intercourse between consenting adults is not a criminal act.

The ruling overturns a 148-year-old colonial law which describes a same-sex relationship as an “unnatural offence”.

Homosexual acts were punishable by a 10-year prison sentence.

Many people in India regard same-sex relationships as illegitimate. Rights groups have long argued that the law contravened human rights.

gaysDelhi’s High Court ruled that the law outlawing homosexual acts was discriminatory and a “violation of fundamental rights”.

The court said that a statute in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which defines homosexual acts as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and made them illegal, was an “antithesis of the right to equality”.

‘India’s Stonewall’

The ruling is historic in a country where homosexuals face discrimination and persecution on a daily basis but it is likely to be challenged, says the BBC’s Soutik Biswas in Delhi.

It also promises to change the discourse on sexuality in a largely conservative country, where even talking about sex is largely taboo, our correspondent says.

Gay rights activists all over the country welcomed the ruling and said it was “India’s Stonewall”.

New York’s Stonewall riot in 1969 is credited with launching the gay rights movement.

“It [the ruling] is India’s Stonewall. We are elated. I think what now happens is that a lot of our fundamental rights and civic rights which were denied to us can now be reclaimed by us,” activist and lawyer Aditya Bandopadhyay told the BBC.

“It is a fabulously written judgement, and it restores our faith in the judiciary,” he said.

Leading gay rights activist and the editor of India’s first gay magazine Ashok Row Kavi welcomed the judgement but said the stigma against homosexuals will persist.

“The social stigma will remain. It is [still] a long struggle. But the ruling will help in HIV prevention. Gay men can now visit doctors and talk about their problems. It will help in preventing harassment at police stations,” Mr Kavi told the BBC.

But the decision was greeted with unease by other groups.

Father Dominic Emanuel of India’s Catholic Bishop Council said the church did not “approve” of homosexual behaviour.

“Our stand has always been very clear. The church has no serious objection to decriminalising homosexuality between consenting adults, the church has never considered homosexuals as criminals,” said Father Emanuel.

“But the church does not approve of this behaviour. It doesn’t consider it natural, ethical, or moral,” he said.

The head cleric of Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, criticised the ruling.

“This is absolutely wrong. We will not accept any such law,” Ahmed Bukhari told the AFP news agency.

In 2004, the Indian government opposed a legal petition that sought to legalise homosexuality – a petition the high court in Delhi dismissed.

But rights groups and the Indian government’s HIV/Aids control body have demanded that homosexuality be legalised.

The National Aids Control Organisation (Naco) has said that infected people were being driven underground and efforts to curb the virus were being hampered.

According to one estimate, more than 8% of homosexual men in India were infected with HIV, compared to fewer than 1% in the general population.
© BBC MMIX

SCOTT LONG, TRANSGENDER RIGHTS PROGRAM, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

This legal remnant of British colonialism has been used to deprive people of their basic rights for too long.

This long-awaited decision testifies to the reach of democracy and rights in India.

British colonisers introduced Section 377 to India in 1860. It became a model for similar sodomy laws imposed on other British colonies, and comparable provisions survive today from Singapore to Uganda.

Most of the world’s sodomy laws are relics of colonialism. As the world’s largest democracy, India has shown the way for other countries to rid themselves of these repressive burdens.

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  1. Conspiracy of Archbishop of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese
    Are other priests and nuns of the Archdiocese aware of dangerous designs of Fr.Dominic Emmanuel?

    Nowadays Rt.Rev.VincentConcessao, Archbishop of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, writing letters, “Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary is a priest of the Archdiocese of Delhi. As he refused to accept the assignment offered to him he is without any assignment for the last six years. He has also refused to take spiritual exercises he was asked to go through.”

    Assignment:
    First of all, let me tell you that Archbishop never offered me any assignment for the past six years. He is telling white lie in order to cover his guilt. Please don’t believe him even though he is Archbishop. Archbishop is not beyond the short coming, that telling lie is in his nature. As soon as he became Archbishop of Delhi, he started to interfere in my works and did not allow me to carry on good works peacefully. He did his best to neutralize me but I am very much active. He supposes to encourage me to work in Haryana when he was the in charge of Haryana mission but he did not do so. As Auxiliary bishop, he was utterly failure to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in Haryana though he was in charge of Haryanea mission.

    Archbishop says that he offered me assignment and I refused. Here I ask Archbishop to write specifically, clearly and honestly that what sort (kind) of assignment was offered to me. Archbishop never offered to me any parish for the past six years. Yes, His Grace asked me to help the Director of Chetanalaya. When there are already Director and assistant Director in Chetanalaya then what I have to do there. I could or can help the Director when ever he asks me for the help. Helping hand is not an assignment. At the time of retirement, why the Archbishop is wrongly justifying himself saying that he was offering an assignment which was/is supposed to be a helping hand and not an assignment. Let me tell the Archbishop and others that it was Bishop Anil Couto who asked me to go for training and then I could work in Chetanalaya. Bishop Anil Couto saw and appreciated my work where as the Archbishop was/is blind of my work. First time Archbishop asked me to help the Director of Chetanalaya and I refused. Archbishop unnecessarily asked the second time and my answer was the same. Why the Archbishop was offering job to me, as peon and helper. I can understand the intention (malicious) of Archbishop. I did not allow the Archbishop to degrade my position. I protected and will protect any dignity. At the end, I say that we need not to have position and permission from authority to preach the Gospel and to do the good work. Archbishop thought that I can not work without him but I am very busy.

    As earlier, I have mention that Archbishop tells a white lie and what I should call it whether Archbishop has a habit to tell a lie. Please read the letter dated on September 3, 2010 and in which there is reference. He writes,” That would make it impossible to find a place for you.” And on the other hand Archbishop was/is that he was giving an assignment. Archbishop did not give me appointment at all, so there was no question of refusal. Yes, Archbishop asked me to work as a peon or slave under some one. Why should I work as peon or slave? I have completed twenty (20) years of priesthood. But there are priests, Archbishop’s country cousins who were/are given big parishes and they hardly completed two or three years of priesthood. Archbishop says, “That would make impossible to find the place for you”. This line is taken from Archbishop Letter which was written in year of 2010 as written above. Here Archbishop is contradicting himself. Once Archbishop wrote that there is no place for me in diocese and on the other hand saying that he was giving assignment to me. It makes very clear that I was not given assignment or appointment. Let me tell to Archbishop that I am the son of soil. I am the owner of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese. He does not require to give me a place because whole diocese is mine.

    Since Archbishop did not give assignment to me so he wrote a letter dated on 13-05-2005. He asked me to stay at Clergy House and since then I am living in room no. 11 of Clergy House. Now Archbishop is asking me vacate the Clergy House. The main reason, Archbishop writes that the tranquility is destroying because of my presence and some other reasons which are baseless. It is not tranquility destroyed by me but it is the peace of mind of both Archbishop and Directors are lost because I tell them the truth which they are not able to digest. It is the Director who does not want me here because I forced him to have meeting every time to put the House in order. Actually the Director is the main accused who is destroying the peace of the House and Archbishop is destroyer of the peace of the diocese. Both of them are not ready to accept the truth but they are adamant to their own way. Since I bring out the fact and truth in the meeting so they are against me. Now they are conspiring against me just to throw out of the Clergy House.

    Archbishop further asks, “To vacate the Clergy House, you are free to stay with any of your priest friends or with relatives willing to keep you”.

    I showed this letter to some of the priests of the diocese and my friends and their first reaction was that instead of me Archbishop must take earlier retirement and go his home for rest of his life. First of all I need not to follow wrong and partial order to go here and there. I will not dance according to anyone’s music. I have my own standard, position, Principle, dignity and I will not allow anyone to humiliate me at any cost. So I ignore and condemn the thought and malicious act of Archbishop. He is asking me to stay with my relatives, while reading this, should I cry or laugh. I think Archbishop must have written it out of frustration. Archbishop is degrading and lowering down his position of Archbishop. My all relatives are Hindu and if they come to know about the misbehaviors of Archbishop then what message are we giving to them. Now it is still time for Archbishop to give an example. Archbishop must take early retirement and go home or go to relative’s house for rest of his life.

    1. Long Retreat:
    Archbishop had circulated the letter to all the priests of the dioceses asking all the priests to go for long retreat (40 days) within four years, in preparation of Golden Jubilee of the diocese. No one had gone for long retreat. But Archbishop was/is forcing me only for long retreat. Archbishop does not have any single reason to act in this manner. Am I a criminal, brought scandal to the church, have I murdered any one. Then why His Grace is forcing me only? How can he dictate my conscious? How can he control my spiritual life? Is he a God? Actually he does not have an answer. Now he is confused and wondering that why he is asking me only to go for long retreat.

    Spiritual exercises (retreat) are always good, every one knows. We must always make retreat willingly and our own will. I should not be forced upon. I too decided my own to go for long retreat, not because of Archbishop was forcing me. But I informed to His Grace about my long retreat. How Archbishop was/is claiming that I refused to go for long retreat? I never refused to go for long retreat. Actually I had fixed month of February in the year of 2004 for long retreat and Archbishop was informed about it. Unfortunately, I had to change the month due to grave reason. So instead month of February, I had fixed the month of August for long retreat and change of month was informed to Archbishop who agreed.

    After some time in one of the recollections Archbishop met me and asked me when I was going for long retreat. I reminded him about change of month, August instead of February. Then he started to force me to go in the month of February only. I reminded that why I had changed the month but he was adamant that I should go for long retreat in February only. Here also Archbishop started to dictate me. While seeing the attitude of Archbishop I disagreed to go for long retreat. Thus I could not make up long retreat as other priests did not go for long retreat. I have all the records in the form of letters about long retreats.

    Archbishop gave a good example to all the diocesan priests, while he made long retreat (40 days) at Bilaspur. But what happened to Archbishop after the long retreat. I felt and feel that after the long retreat Archbishop became adamant, not listening the diocesan priests’ and working his own way only instead of improving his attitude which became worse especially towards me, a Dalit Priest. So there is no guarantee that after the retreat we became holy but we may become worse.

    1. Conspiracy of Archbishop and Director of Clergy House:

    Archbishop had written a letter to me while I was at Pitampura. He had asked me to stay at clergy House in the year of 2004. He did not want to give me parish because I am a Dalit Priest so I was asked to stay at Clergy House. I willingly accepted, the letter, to stay at Clergy House otherwise priests are not ready to stay at Clergy House. What are the reasons? I will let you know about the Clergy House. Now it is very necessary for all the diocesan priests to know the situation of the Clergy House. In fact most of the priests know about what is happening at Clergy House but still I feel to write about it.

    Archbishop had appointed earlier many Directors who did well and the situation, at Clergy House, was very good especially the food. Actually retired priests need good food and conducive atmosphere in the House. But as soon as the present Director was appointed, the situation in the House entirely became different. First of all the appointment of the Present Director was against our wishes. He is the only Archbishop’s choice and we were not discussed about his appointment by the Archbishop.

    The present Director thinks that he is the only owner of the House and other priests are like outsiders. He takes all decisions by himself. In the beginning when the situation was getting worse, I took initiative and forced the Director to call the meeting. The meeting was called along with Archbishop and I was the only outspoken and many points were discussed but nothing was implemented. Thus the situation became worse.

    Let me first write about the food serve to inmate priests of the House. During the time of the earlier Directors the food was very good and sufficiently served to the priests. Priests, who happened to come to Archbishop’s house during the lunch time, used to join us for lunch and not anywhere. It was moment of joy and happiness for us when our priests joined us to share the lunch and dinner. Any number of priests could join us because the extra food was cooked. But now it is the opposite. The quantity of food of lunch and dinner is reduced and the quality of the food is not good at all. If I write in detail about how the food is served, the readers may laugh, so I am not writing in detail about the food. Now most of the priests know the situation of food and the house, therefore, they are not coming to join us for lunch and dinner. Even the inmate priests are not having lunch and dinner regularly. Some time I had gone to bed without having dinner because left over food is always kept inside the room attached to the kitchen which is locked and keys are with the Director and sister. At present we are like the prisoners because we have to eat whatever we are severed and have to eat on time otherwise we have to be hungry. The food situation was discussed in every meeting along with Archbishop but food quantity and quality did not improve at all.

    Let me tell the readers that the Clergy House is financially supported entirely by the Parish Priest of Cathedral. Inmate Priests of the Clergy House are grateful to him. Parish Priest of Cathedral gives money for food and other expenditures but the Director cut the stomach of the inmate priests, save the money and gives the money to the diocese. He does not spend entire money on food. It likes that Parish Priest of Cathedral is generous for supporting the inmates financially, especially for food, and the Director is more generous in donating the money to diocese while starving the retired priests of the House. Archbishop knows very well about food situation and the disorder of the House but he is incapable to solve the problem.

    I am, in special manner, ill-treated by both the Archbishop and Director. The quantity of food is reduced for me. If I am late for lunch and dinner the food will not be kept on the table as it used to be earlier. No extra food and other items will not be given to me. My guests are not given food in the House. Let me not write in detail about food otherwise both Archbishop and the Director will be ashamed. Workers in the House are not allowed to work (serve) for me. Thus both of them are trying their best to starve me so that I may vacate the House. Both of them are creating such a situation so that I may stand in front of Cathedral with bowl and beg and get money in order to buy food to sustain my life. At the end, I request my brother priests to visit the inmates of the Clergy House and bring better and sufficient food for the inmates priests of the Clergy House. I am bold enough to face Archbishop and Director. I am not afraid both of them. I will stay at Clergy House as long as I want.

    Vatican official explains new authority of bishops to defrock priests

    During an interview with Vatican Radio, the Secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, clarified that bishops around the world have not been granted “automatic” powers to defrock (deprive a person in holy order of ecclesiastical) priests, but only the capacity to proceed more speedily in cases that were not considered by the current Code of Canon Law. The new powers granted to bishops were announced by a letter sent to all episcopates from Cardinal Claudio Hummes on April 18 and are aimed at filling some legal voids present in the current Canon Law. The Archbishop explained that they are not a “blank Check” to automatically defrock priests, as some members of the Italian press have recently claimed. The changes authorized by Pope Benedict XVI allow bishops to proceed with the laicization of priests only in some cases, such as when a priest leaves the ministry by his own will; when he asks the bishop to be dispensed from the commitment of celibacy; or when a priest leaves the priesthood without telling the bishop and enters into a civil marriage, has kids and “ is not interested in solving his canonical situation” In those cases, for the good of the church and his own good, Archbishop Piacenza explained, “the power to give a dispensation to the priest is requested as an act of charity, especially if he has children, since the children have the right to a father in good standing with the Church.” In these cases, it is the bishop who has to take the initiative,” the Archbishop added. Nevertheless, he clarified that “there is nothing ‘automatic, there is no ‘automatism’ in the timing of the cases, each case has to be carefully and rigorously examined.” All the other rights and duties of the bishops in exercising their juridical authority remain unchanged,” Piacenza continued.

    The Voice of Delhi
    July 2009

    Let Archbishop explain new authority of bishops to defrock priests.

    Fr William Premdass Chaudhary
    Delhi Catholic Archdiocese
    Clergy House, 1, Ashok Place, New Delhi – 110 001
    Tel: 23362058, 0 9811275507
    E-mail-chaudhary_william@rediff.com

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