Sikh24.com – Hondh Chillad Massacre: DSGMC asked to inscribe names of victims on ‘Sach Di Kandh’

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi-India, 12 January 2018. Manwinder Singh Giaspura and Bhai Darshan Singh Gholia, leaders of the Hondh Chillad Taalmel Committee, told Sikh24 that they have asked DSGMC President Manjit Singh GK to share details of ongoing petition in Punjab & Haryana Court against four senior officials.

“We met with President Manjit Singh GK to inquire about the progress in the case. We also submitted a memorandum to demand inscription of names of the victims of Hondh Chillad massacre on ‘Sach Di Kandh’ along with a brief history about this barbaric carnage,” they said.

‘Sach Di Kandh’ is a project initiated by the Delhi Shiromani Gurdwara Management Committee to inscribe names of 1984 anti-Sikh massacres victims. The walls has names of victims who fell victim to the massacres in November 1984.

It has details of victims from Delhi area and other parts of India, however, it doesn’t include information of those who were killed in Hondh Chillad.

“Manjit Singh GK hailed our efforts and said that the DSGMC had tried its best to include the names of India-wide victims of Sikh genocide. He added that the names of left victims will also be inscribed within short time,” Manwinder Singh told Sikh24.

“Manjit Singh GK has assigned the responsibility of inscribing names of 32 victims of Hondh Chillad massacre on ‘Sach Di Kandh’ to DSGMC Saradar Chaman Singh,” he said.

http://www.sikh24.com/2018/01/12/hondh-chillad-massacre-dsgmc-asked-to-inscribe-names-of-victims-on-sach-di-kandh/#.Wlr-MjdG3IU

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The Indian Express – 1984 anti-Sikh riots: Enough evidence against Kamal Nath, can’t evade law now, says H S Phoolka

“All Congress leaders including Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Singh and Kamal Nath cannot evade law now,” Harinder Singh Phoolka said at a press conference.

Divya Goyal

Ludhiana-Panjab-India, 14 January 2018. Terming the decision of the Supreme Court to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and re-probe 186 cases of 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “historic”, Harinder Singh Phoolka, the Supreme Court advocate fighting these cases, said Saturday that law will now soon catch up “powerful and influential people like Congress leader Kamal Nath”.

“It has been years that some influential people from Congress have been evading law. But now justice will be delivered. It is for the first time that the Supreme Court has shown such seriousness in 33 years on 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Seeing the strong evidence against him, we are now hopeful that he (Kamal Nath) too will be caught. All Congress leaders including Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Singh and Kamal Nath cannot evade law now,” Phoolka said at a press conference.

He said that it the Supreme Court has rekindled the hope of families of the victims who were being told to forget the carnage as it has been more than 33 years now.

“Police, judiciary and other government departments were now telling us to forget it. They were telling us to let bygones be bygones. But the SC has proved that time cannot be a reason for justice not be delivered. The Chief Justice of India has started a new chapter by forming this SIT. Also, Justice S N Dhingra is an upright judge who will do complete justice with the duty given to him,” he said.

Phoolka, who is also a senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader had resigned as the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly to focus on cases of riot victims, said his decision was proven right today. “I can see the results and I can say that my decision to resign as Leader of the Opposition was absolutely right.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Phoolka said that as per official figures, at least 2,733 people were killed in 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which 541 cases were registered.

“However, till now, conviction has been announced in only 13 killings. In most cases, one FIR was registered for multiple killings. Of 186 cases that will be re-probed now, there is strong evidence against Kamal Nath in one of it,” he said.

Inviting Punjab’s Power Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh for an open debate on the 1984 riots, Phoolka said the minister should think twice before giving statements. Rana Gurjeet had reportedly said on Friday that “none of Congress leaders were involved in anti-Sikh riots”.

“Firstly, he should listen to the words of his party’s former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi who justifying the riots said that whenever a big tree falls, earth shakes.

Even the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has written in his book that his residence in Ashok Vihar was attacked by a mob and it was only after his Hindu son-in-law came out that they were saved. I invite Rana Gurjeet for an open debate,” he said.

Phoolka said that instead of punishing them, the Congress elevated and promoted its leaders who were involved in the riots. “They were made ministers and given plum posts. There is clear evidence that Congress leaders were then leading the mobs, which were even given the lists of Sikhs’ residences in Delhi, including that of former PM Dr Manmohan Singh,” said Phoolka.

‘Inflammable powder was used in entire Delhi’

Phoolka claimed that an “inflammable powder” which could only be handled by experts was used in entire Delhi to target Sikhs.

“It was a powder which led to inferno wherever it was thrown. One needs experts to touch it. Congress leaders were accompanied by those experts and mob and the powder was used in entire Delhi. Experts came overnight. It proves that the entire government machinery was involved in the riots,” he said.

“The pattern was to target gurdwaras first so that Sikhs cannot assemble there. Wherever Sikhs assembled, police reached and disarmed them. Even Sikh police officials and 26 Light Sikh Infantry troops were disarmed so that they could not fight back,” said Phoolka.

‘Stand on SC judges revolt can impact my fight for 1984 victims’

Meanwhile, Phoolka refused to comment on the recent tussle in the apex court with four senior judges coming out against the Chief Justice in front of media. “It is an issue between groups of judges. If I take an open stand on it, it can directly impact my fight for anti-Sikh riots victims. I do not want to get into this,” he said.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Enough evidence against Kamal Nath, can’t evade law now, says HS Phoolka

DNA India – Justice S N Dhingra will head 1984 riots panel

New Delhi-India, 12 January 2018. The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed former Delhi High Court judge Justice S N Dhingra, and two others, on a committee that will look into 186 cases pertaining to the 1984 anti-sikh riots. The cases were closed by the Home Ministry-appointed Special Investigations Team (SIT).

Retired IPS officer Rajdeep Singh and serving IPS officer Abhishek Dular will complete the three-member committee, which has to submit its report within two months.

Justice Dhingra is known for sentencing Mohammed Afzal Guru to death for his role in the 2001 Parliament attack. He has also questioned land deals done by Robert Vadra and sentenced Kishori Lal, aka the ‘Butcher of Trilokpuri’, in the 1990s.

The apex court on Wednesday agreed to constitute a new three-member SIT to monitor a re-investigation in the riot cases that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

A bench asked the Centre to propose names for consideration within a few hours to hasten their appointment in the new SIT. The new committee will include one retired high court judge, one retired police officer not below the rank of a DIG and one serving police officer, the bench said.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-justice-sn-dhingra-will-head-1984-riots-panel-2574814

The New Indian Express – AAP welcomes Supreme Court decision for new SIT to probe 186 anti-Sikh riot cases

New Delhi-India, 11 January 2018. Delhi’s ruling AAP today welcomed a Supreme Court order to constitute a new three-member special investigation team to monitor the re-investigation into 186 cases related to the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 which were closed earlier.

AAP leader Jarnail Singh, fighting for the families affected by the anti-Sikh riots, also urged the Supreme Court to direct the CBI, or an independent investigation agency, to investigate the cases.

“We have no trust in Delhi Police, which was directly involved in killings and made the biggest cover up in the history of India,” Singh alleged.

“The cases should be monitored by Supreme Court as it was done in Gujarat riot cases and resulted in a few convictions,” he added.

Large-scale riots had broken out in Delhi in the aftermath of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two Sikh security guards on October 31, 1984. The violence claimed 2,733 lives in the national capital alone.

Deciding to set up a new SIT, the Supreme Court today held that the previous SIT had not carried out further probe into the 186 cases in which closure reports were filed.

It said a supervisory body it had appointed found that out of 241 cases, 186 cases were closed without investigation.

On August 16 last year, the court had appointed the supervisory panel to examine the SIT’s decision to close 241 cases.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/jan/10/aap-welcomes-supreme-court-decision-for-new-sit-to-probe-186-anti-sikh-riot-cases-1750121.html

Human Rights Without Frontiers – Believers of all faiths and atheists in prison: 24 countries of particular concern

A Report by Human Rights Without Frontiers

10 January 2018

HRWF International, 10 January 2018, Human Rights Without Frontiers International has released its 2017 database of believers and non-believers who have been imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief.

Twenty-four countries in all were identified by Human Rights Without Frontiers International for depriving believers and unbelievers of their freedom in 2017: Algeria, Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.

“In 2017, we documented over 2200 individual cases of illegal imprisonment of believers and non-believers and we carried out campaigns to get their release, some with success,” according to Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International.

Among all denominations, Christians of all faiths were in jail in the highest number of countries: Protestants in 13 countries, Catholics and Orthodox in 2 countries.

However, members of a dozen other religious or belief communities are known to have been in jail in 2017: Jehovah’s Witnesses in 6 countries; Sunnis in 4 countries; Shias, Said Nursi and Tabligh Jamaat followers in 3 countries; Ahmadis, Baha’is, Buddhists and Sufis in 2 countries; Atheists in Egypt, Falun Gong practitioners in China, and Scientologists in Russia.

“Prison terms are usually imposed on peaceful and law-abiding members of religious or belief groups on the basis of laws restricting their freedom to change religion, share one’s beliefs, and practice their right to freedom of association, worship and assembly.

Additionally, they may be imprisoned simply because of their religious identity”, Fautré said.

According to the database, China, Iran and South Korea recorded the largest number of freedom of religion or belief prisoners.

In China, Falun Gong practitioners, whose movement was banned in 1999, are massively put in prison, a number of Catholic priests and bishops have also been missing, since their arrests many years ago for being faithful to the Pope instead of swearing allegiance to the Communist Party.

Evangelical and Pentecostal Protestants belonging to the mushrooming network of house churches, and Uyghur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists, both of which are systematically suspected of separatism, are also particular targets of the regime.

In Iran, the Baha’is, whose movement is considered a heresy of Islam, make up the highest number of prisoners. They are followed by home-grown Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians who extensively carry out missionary activities among their fellow citizens despite the risk of imprisonment and execution.

Baluchi** and Kurdish Sunnis as well as Sufis are also particularly targeted.

In South Korea, over 300 young objectors to military service were still serving 18-month prison terms at the end of 2017. Since the Korean War, more than 19,200 Jehovah’s Witnesses have reportedly been sentenced to a combined total of over 37,200 years in prison for refusing to perform military service.

Eritrea, Singapore and Tajikistan are other countries which still imprison conscientious objectors.

“Our best wish for 2018 is that the EU converts its words into action and fully uses the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief to help release many FoRB prisoners of conscience,” Fautré hopes.

The lists of prisoners per country can be consulted at:

http://hrwf.eu/forb-intro/forb-and-blasphemy-prisoners-list/

(*) Human Rights Without Frontiers International has been monitoring freedom of religion or belief as a non-religious organization since 1989. In 2017 it covered in its daily newsletter more than 70 countries where there were incidents related to freedom of religion or belief, intolerance and discrimination. See its news database at
http://hrwf.eu/newsletters/forb/

(**) Both in Afghanistan and in Baluchistan Shia Hazaras are targeted by extremists. I am not aware of any bias against Sunis in Baluchistan.
Man in Blue

For further information, contact:

Email: international.secretariat.brussels@hrwf.net
Email: w.fautre@hrwf.net

http://www.hrwf.eu

The Hindu – Supreme Court to form its own special team to probe 186 anti-Sikh riots cases

These cases were not investigated further by the Union government’s SIT

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi-India, 10 January 2018. In a relief to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, the Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to set up its own three-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe 186 cases not investigated further by the Union government’s SIT.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the three-member SIT would be headed by a former High Court judge and have a former IPS officer not below or who is equivalent to the rank of an IG and a serving IPS officer, all available in Delhi.

On the government’s insistence, the Bench posted the matter for January 11, so that the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, and senior advocate H S Phoolka, who is appearing for the victims, could suggest names for the new special probe team.

“Regard being had to the nature of the cases, we think it appropriate that a fresh SIT be constituted for carrying on further investigation,” the court recorded in its order.

When the victims recalled that such an SIT had been quashed following objections that said investigation was the police’s forte and not the court’s, Chief Justice Misra said: “That is history. This is we [Supreme Court] who are doing it.”

The decision to form a new SIT was based on a confidential report placed on record on December 11, 2017 by an apex court-appointed supervisory committee of former Supreme Court judges, Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J M Panchal.

This committee was tasked with vetting the investigation into 241 anti-Sikh riots cases closed by the government’s SIT. These 186 cases are a part of those cases.

On August 16 last year, the court decided to independently examine the investigation records of the 241 cases and confirm that there was nothing more to do on them.

Death of 3,325 people

A total of 3,325 people were killed in the 1984 riots. Delhi alone accounted for 2,733 deaths, while the rest occurred in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other States.

The government SIT was set up on February 12, 2015, following a recommendation by the Justice (retd.) G P Mathur committee. It was headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch and comprised retired district and sessions judge Rakesh Kapoor and additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police Kumar Gyanesh.

The SIT questioned Congress leader Sajjan Kumar thrice and asked him questions about the allegations that he instigated a mob in Janakpuri on November 1, 1984, which led to the killing of two Sikhs, Sohan Singh and his son-in-law, Avtar Singh.

The Centre had told the court that out of a total 293 cases investigated by the SIT, closure reports were filed for 241 cases.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-to-form-new-sit-to-probe-186-anti-skih-riots-cases/article22411073.ece?homepage=true

The Statesman – Why atrocities on Dalits, minorities, farmers: Jignesh Mevani asks PM Modi

New Delhi-India, 10 January 2018. Gujarat Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking why atrocities were being committed against Dalits, minorities and farmers in India and charged the BJP and RSS with instigating anti-Dalit violence in Bhima Koregaon in Maharasthra.

“The way in which Hardik (Patel), Alpesh (Thakore) and Jignesh (Mevani) with the support of the youth in Gujarat brought the BJP down from over 150 seats (target set by BJP in Gujarat) to 99 seats… That is the reason we are being targetted,” Mevani told his Yuva Hunkar rally here.

“And this is the reason why the people of the (Rashtriya Swayamsewak) Sangh and BJP spread violence in Bhima Koregaon,” he said, referring to the violence that broke out in Bhima Koregaon near Pune last week in which one person lost his life and several vehicles were damaged.

The rally for which the Delhi Police had originally denied permission was held at Jantar Mantar, a short distance from Parliament House in central Delhi. But Mevani and his supporters shelved plans to take out a procession to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The newly elected MLA also said that when he fought elections in Gujarat he always spoke about bringing people together.

“Throughout the election campaign, we said that for 22 years the BJP followed the politics of division, while we always spoke about binding people together,” he said. “We don’t follow love-jihad”.

“We only talk about love and harmony. We will celebrate April 14 and Valentine’s Day too,” he said.

Referring to the violence that marked the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune last week, he asked: “Why the violence took place in Bhima Koregaon?

“I don’t have to answer it but you have to answer me… This you have to answer why Rs 15 lakh didn’t come in everyone’s account, why no jobs to youth? Why farmers were shot dead in Mandsaur? Why no justice to the Una Dalit victims? Why Najeeb Ahmed went missing? Why Rohit Vemula died? We’ll ask all these questions from you, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji.”

Mevani, who won from Vadgam in Gujarat in Assembly elections, said elected representatives were not allowed to speak and that was Gujarat’s model.

Further targeting Modi, Mevani said he supported the government’s “Digital India” initiative but asked the Prime Minister to ensure a technology first “so that no one is made to die inside a sewer”.

He also sought an immediate release of Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad — a Dalit leader who has been jailed and the National Security Act (NSA) slapped against him for allegdly instigating violence in Saharanpur in June last year.

Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar said the rally had been called “to protect the Constitution and not for any religion”. He alleged that the BJP was creating communal divisions to rule.

“The BJP does not want ‘Ram Rajya’… In the fight between Allah and Ram, the victory will always go to Nathuram (Godse),” said the student leader.

Earlier, scores of people gathered around the barricaded Parliament Street for the protest march planned by Mevani.

“No permission has been given to anyone (to hold a rally),” Joint Commissioner of Police Ajay Chaudhary told reporters here.

The Gujarat lawmaker slammed the police and the central government for denying permission to the protest.

“An elected representative is not allowed to speak… This is extremely unfortunate.”

Some 1,500 security personnel in riot gear, with tear gas launchers and water cannons, were deployed on Parliament Street. As many as 42 organisation, parties, associations and student groups, took part in the rally.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/atrocities-dalits-minorities-farmers-jignesh-mevani-asks-pm-modi-1502561121.html

The West Australian – Christian school found to have discriminated against boy over turban

Melbourne-Victoria-Australia, 9 January 2018. A Melbourne Christian school has amended its uniform policy after being found to have discriminated against a young Sikh boy because he wore a turban.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in September found Melton Christian College breached the Equal Opportunity Act by not allowing Sidhak Singh Arora, then aged five, to attend the school wearing a patka, or children’s turban.

A joint statement by Sidhak’s parents and the school says the uniform policy has been amended “to allow exceptions where genuine medical or religious grounds exist, such that Sidhak will be able to start at MCC in the beginning of the 2018 school year”.

“MCC regrets the difficulties that took place with respect to the enrolment and the family is grateful to the school for the amendments it has made to the uniform policy in order to welcome Sidhak to the school,” the statement read.

Sidhak’s parents, Sagardeep Singh Arora and Anureet Kaur Arora, tried to enrol their son at the school in 2016 before the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission intervened in the case.

The Aroras still wanted Sidhak to attend the Melton Christian College because it was close to home and where Sidhak’s cousins studied.

During the VCAT hearing, the school argued its decision was lawful under exemptions to the Equal Opportunity Act.

VCAT ordered the parents and school to negotiate an arrangement to resolve the situation.

The ruling found “MCC’s uniform policy, in so far as it prohibits head gear of a non-Christian faith, could be described as ’openly discriminatory’”.

https://thewest.com.au/news/australia/christian-school-found-to-have-discriminated-against-boy-over-turban-ng-b88710027z

BBC News – Aadhaar: ‘Leak’ in world’s biggest database worries Indians

Indian officials in charge of a controversial biometric identity scheme have filed a police complaint after a report that citizens’ personal details were being sold for as little as 500 rupees ($7.8;£5.8) online.

New Delhi-India, 5 January 2018. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) wants a probe into “unauthorised access” to its database.

But it said biometric data was safe.

The Tribune newspaper claimed that it bought user details via an “agent” advertising his services on WhatsApp.

The report is the latest revelation against the UIDAI biometric system known as Aadhaar, which means foundation.

It said that once it paid the “agent”, its reporters were given a username and password that allowed them to enter any Aadhaar number into the UIDAI website and get access to user information including name, address, photo, phone number and email address.

The report added that payment of a further 300 rupees provided “software” that allowed them to print out any Aadhaar card for which they had the number.

The UIDAI says the breach seems to be a misuse of a grievance redressal scheme that allowed Aadhaar agents to rectify issues like a change in address and wrong spelling of a person’s name.

However, it added that the scheme did not grant access to people’s biometric details.

The revelations in the report made headlines in India, with many on social media expressing concern over the security of their personal data.

Aadhaar started out as a voluntary programme to help tackle benefit fraud, but recently it has been made mandatory for access to welfare schemes.

Critics have repeatedly warned that the scheme puts personal information at risk” and have criticised government efforts to compulsorily link it to bank accounts and mobile phone numbers.

The government has always insisted that the biometric data is “safe and secure in encrypted form”, and anybody found guilty of leaking data can be jailed and fined.

A case challenging its mandatory linking to schemes and bank accounts is pending before the country’s Supreme Court.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-42575443

The Hindu – Supreme Court refers plea to decriminalise homosexuality under Section 377 to larger Bench

“Societal morality changes with time,” says the court

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi-India, 9 January 2018. The Supreme Court on Monday referred to a larger Bench a writ petition filed by five petitioners to quash Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality.

On Monday, the apex court said a section of people cannot live in fear of the law which atrophies their right to choice and natural sexual inclinations. It said societal morality changes with time and law should walk and change pace with life.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra decided to revisit its December 2013 verdict in Suresh Kumar Kaushal vs. Naz Foundation which dismissed the LGBT community as a negligible part of the population while virtually denying them the right of choice and sexual orientation.

While the court noted that Section 377 punishes carnal intercourse against order of nature, it added that “the determination of order of nature is not a common phenomenon. Individual autonomy and individual natural inclination cannot be atrophied unless the restrictions are determined as reasonable.”

The court observed that what is natural for one may not be natural for the other, but the confines of law cannot trample or curtail the inherent rights embedded with an individual under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.

The court said the concept of consensual sex may require more protection. The court noted the arguments of senior advocate Arvind Datar, who appeared for the petitioners, that Section 377 IPC is not a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right to choice.

Its judgments emphasising the transgender identity in the NALSA case and the observations made by a nine-judge Bench in the right to privacy case upholding the right to sexual orientation and choice of sexual partners warrant a relook into its dismissive verdict in the Naz case, said the court.

Initially the Bench seemed reluctant, saying a five judge Bench is already considering a curative petition by Naz against 2013 verdict.

Mr Datar, however prevailed, saying while Naz is an NGO, he is representing petitioners whose fundamental rights are directly affected by Section 377.

“Right to choose my partner is part of my fundamental right to privacy,” Mr. Datar submitted.

“But the privacy judgment says sexual partner means a natural partner,” Chief Justice Misra countered.

“Who my ‘natural’ partner should be is my choice,” Mr. Datar responded.

Chief Justice Misra then said Section 377 also criminalises beastiality. “What about carnal intercourse with animals?” the CJI asked.

“We are not on that part. Our petition is only about criminalising consensual sex between adults of the same sex,” Mr. Datar replied.

The court at one point observed that a provision cannot become unconstitutional purely because it is abused. The senior advocate argued that Section 377 has the potential to destroy individual choice and sexual orientation.

The petitioners include Navtej Singh Johar, a Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-winning Bharatnatyam dancer; Sunil Mehra who is a senior journalist; Ritu Dalmia who is a restaurateur and Aman Nath, an expert on Indian art, culture and the founder of the Neemrana chain of hotels.

“The petitioners are not seeking protection only as sexual minorities but recognition of characteristics that inhere to all human beings. A right to sexuality, sexual autonomy and freedom to choose a sexual partner forms the cornerstone of human dignity which is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the petition said.

The nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court had in August 2017 ripped apart its 2013 judgment upholding Section 377.

The majority privacy judgment had observed that the chilling effect of Section 377 “poses a grave danger to the unhindered fulfilment of one’s sexual orientation, as an element of privacy and dignity”.

In separate judgments, the Constitution Bench had concluded that the 2013 verdict by a two-judge Bench of the apex court pandered to a “majoritarian” view to turn down the LGBT community their inherent fundamental rights of life, personal liberty, equality and gender discrimination.

The 2013 judgment’s view that “a miniscule fraction of the country’s population constitutes lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders” was not a sustainable basis to deny the right to privacy, Justice D Y Chandrachud had observed in his majority judgment.

“The test of popular acceptance does not furnish a valid basis to disregard rights which are conferred with the sanctity of constitutional protection. Discrete and insular minorities face grave dangers of discrimination for the simple reason that their views, beliefs or way of life does not accord with the ‘mainstream’.

Yet in a democratic Constitution founded on the rule of law, their rights are as sacred as those conferred on other citizens to protect their freedoms and liberties,” Justice Chandrachud had observed.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, in his separate judgment, seconded Justice Chandrachud, while observing that the “majoritarian concept” does not apply to constitutional rights.

“Courts are often called up on to take what may be categorised as a non-majoritarian view… One’s sexual orientation is undoubtedly an attribute of privacy,” Justice Kaul added.

Justice Chandrachud observed that the Supreme Court, without any constitutional basis, had set aside the historic Delhi High Court judgment of then Chief Justice A P Shah.

The High Court had in 2010 found that Section 377 was a statutory provision targeting homosexuals as a class and amounted to a hostile discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.

The Review Bench of the Supreme Court, in January 2014, had agreed with its original appeal judgment on December 11, 2013, setting aside the historic and globally accepted verdict of the Delhi High Court.

The pending curative petitions are the last stand in a decade-old fight by the LGBT community.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-refers-377-plea-to-larger-bench/article22396250.ece