Abstract

On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India passed a historic judgment that decriminalised consensual same-sex acts among adults. The judgment which ‘read down’ S377 IPC was the culmination of demands that started from organisations that worked around HIV/AIDS prevention and eventually encouraged individual LGBTQ persons to challenge the law. Engagement with the law, therefore, this paper argues has been central to the emergence of the LGBTQ movement in India. Without undermining the significance of the grass root activism against S377, the paper also places stress on international human rights instruments and LGBTQ struggles against decriminalisation from different countries as factors that enabled the Johar Judgment.  Finally, the paper raises the question on larger ramifications that the judgment can have and the necessity to look beyond decriminalisation.