Democracy Is Imperilled
THE rule of law, independent judiciary and a free press upholding the Constitution with inbuilt checks and balances are the hallmarks of our democracy. However, it appears that the successful philosophy is to squeeze the people first and then use bonanza to bribe them with goodies for votes: free mobile phones for all, welfare schemes and doles for the unemployed and so on. Petrol prices are shooting up, travelling in public transport has become a nightmare and essential commodities are going out of reach, even of middle classes. But hooray, the GDP rate is going northward, so is a healthy balancesheet with the increased government spending, never mind inflation and the falling rupee. All wrongs by the citizen and opposition draw swift punishment, but if you are in the Sang Parivar all is right since it can do no wrong! We citizens are morons due to greed and politicians capitalise on our weaknesses. We need more people to speak up, but that also is being taken care of. We are experiencing democracy dying at the hands of our elected leaders subverting the very process and institutions that brought them to power! Veteran Journalist and author Arun Shourie opines this is our last chance to save democracy!
JOHN ERIC GOMES, PORVORIM
Victory For Homosexuals
THE matter regarding the legality of Section 377 of Indian Penal Code has been the contentious issue for a long time. The beleaguered LGBT community, a small miniscule amidst the ocean of humanity, has been humiliated and targeted under the said code of the Victorian era that dates back to 1860, which had held that gay sex was illegal and punishable with imprisonment for life. The Delhi High Court in its 2009 verdict had decriminalised this section which was hailed as victory for the community. However, this joy was short lived as when some religious-minded petitioners dragged the matter to the Supreme Court the section was recriminalised, a step that was ridiculed manifestly. As a follow through some eminent LGBT rights activists petitioned the apex court claiming that their rights to sexuality, choice of sexual partner, life, privacy, dignity and equality along with other fundamental rights under the Constitution were violated. Now a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment has held that Section 377 is irrational and arbitrary and sexual orientation is an intrinsic trait in some people and that they do not have control over it, and accordingly consensual gay sex between adults is not a crime. The world community has hailed this outcome as a step in the right direction. It took 158 years to strike down the impugned section and render justice to the gay community which for ages has been discriminated, harassed and marginalised by the society. It cannot be denied that Section 377 finds its root in religious beliefs of creation of man and woman and accordingly sex was validated only between them essentially for procreation and anything that crossed this line was felt unacceptable. From the primitive times we have no doubt moved far ahead but despite so much of research and assertion that homosexuality in some is as natural as heterosexuality in the majority community, it will take immense time for people buried in antiquated beliefs to accept the reality.
MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES