Need to Enact Siras Act on the Lines of Alan Turing law

Synopsis- Ex-post facto pardon to the convicts of homosexuality will serve justice to them. Alan Turing law is a perfect example in this case. Government should consider enacting Siras Act on the same line.

  • On September 6, 2018, India’s Supreme Court ruled that consensual homosexual acts would no longer constitute a crime.
  • The historic move reversed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • The change was a positive step towards acceptance and equal rights to LGBTQ+ communities.

However, it is time to enact ex post facto pardon for those who are in jail due to their acts in the past because of their sexuality.

ex-Post facto means it will apply to the acts before the enactment of law or before the judgment i.e. retrospective effect.

What is section 377?
  • Firstly, section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalized homosexuality. Section introduced in 1861 during the British rule in India, modeled on the Buggery Act of 1533.
  • Secondly, in 2018, The Supreme Court ruled that the criminalization of consensual homosexual sex, under Section 377 between adults was unconstitutional, irrational, indefensible, and manifestly arbitrary.
  • However, Section 377 remains in force for sex with minors, non-consensual sexual acts, and bestiality.

Example of Persecution faced by the LGBTQ+ community in India

Ramchandra Siras Case –
  • Siras was a Professor and HOD of Modern Indian Languages at Aligarh Muslim University.
  • AMU suspended him for gross misconduct in 2010 due to consensual homosexual sex.
  • However, Later, Professor Siras won his case against the university in Allahabad High Court on 1 April 2010 and got back his job as a professor.
What is Alan Turing law?

The Alan Turing law (formal title- the Policing and Crime Act 2017) was passed to correct a historic injustice. The law pardoned gay men convicted in the past because of their sexuality.

  • The Law is named after Alan Turing, the World War II code-breaker and computing pioneer. He was convicted of gross indecency in 1952.
  • However, Alan Turing received a royal pardon in 2013.
  • Now, The law applies in England and Wales.

Landmark Judgments related to LGBTQ+ communities

  • Firstly, Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi [2009] is a landmark Indian case of the Delhi High Court. It held that treating consensual homosexual sex between adults as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights.
    • As a result of the ruling, homosexual acts between consenting adults are no longer illegal in India.
  • Secondly, Suresh Kumar Koushal vs. Naz Foundation [2013]-
    • In Suresh Kumar Koushal vs. Naz Foundation, SC overturned the previous judgment by Delhi HC 2009 and restored Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Thirdly, Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India [2018]-
    • In Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India in 2018, SC decriminalized homosexuality. Dismissed the position taken by SC in Suresh Kumar Koushal case (2013).

Way forward-

The Indian government should pass a ‘Siras Act,’ similar to the Alan Turing bill, to make amends for past and current abuses towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Source- The Hindu

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