It has now been over 24 hours but several political parties, including the BJP, have still not issued a public statement on what is likely to go down in history as a landmark judgment. News18 reached out to various parties to seek their reactions to the judgment.
When contacted, a BJP spokesperson said he “wasn’t aware of it” before hanging up. Another spokesperson News18 reached out to has yet to comment. Officially, the BJP has maintained absolute silence on the issue.
The last time a BJP president spoke on the issue was back in 2009 when shortly after the Delhi High Court struck down section 377, the then party president Rajnath Singh said, “We support section 377 because we believe that homosexuality is an unnatural act that cannot be supported.”
Only one party leader, Poonam Mahajan, an MP and national president of the party’s youth wing, tweeted in praise of the SC judgment. “Happiness all around as Equality prevails again! Section377” she tweeted on Thursday.
BSP was another party that has officially not reacted to the development. One of the party spokespersons referred us to another spokesperson whose response is still awaited.
Saugata Roy, an MP, and Trinamool party leader said his party hadn’t issued a public statement because “other parties have also not commented on the issue.”
Congress hailed the judgment on its official Twitter handle. “We welcome the Supreme Court’s landmark #377Verdict. We have always believed that this has been a long time coming & we celebrate it with our friends in the LGBTQAI + community. Equality won today!”
The party also issued public statements on the striking down of section 377 by Shashi Tharoor, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Jitin Prasada, Priya Dutt, and Sushmita Dev, and issued some old videos of their party president Rahul Gandhi supporting LGBT+ rights.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari welcomed the Supreme Court verdict and called it a victory for those who have fought against Section 377 for long.
“We have always believed in equal rights to all citizens and we have always believed in human rights. They are core to our politics. The Supreme Court verdict is a victory of human rights. We celebrate this verdict with the LGBT community and stand in salutation with the people who fought to get this verdict, and those who have fought against the social stigma and the broader indifference that exists on a social and political level.”
Tiwari also sought clarification from the BJP over their stance on the verdict. “It is clear that the BJP and its surrogate organisations have taken political postures against this issue in the past as well. BJP and RSS are still not completely onboard.”
Talking about his party’s support to the issue of decriminalisation of homosexuality, NCP leader and lawyer Majeed Memon said NCP’s stand on the issue was the same as Congress’. He did not comment on the absence of an official statement on the verdict from the party and only said their stance mirrored that of the Congress.
“We support the judgment. We have also raised a question that BJP and RSS must make their stand clear, because they seem to be contradicting each other over the verdict.”
A senior leader of Dravidian heavyweight DMK, party MP Kanimozhi, tweeted in support of the SC’s decision soon after it was announced. “Personal choices we make in our lives should not be dictated by law – well done SC for this historic verdict. The rights of #LGBTQ community are finally recognized and India has taken an important step towards fulfilling its universal human rights obligations. Hope we move towards a more liberal, tolerant and inclusive society.”
The CPI(M) too released a statement on Thursday welcoming the judgment. “The CPI(M) welcomes the judgment of the Supreme Court striking down Section 377 of the IPC thus decriminalizing same sex consensual relations between adults. This constitutes a historic victory for the LGBT communities who have suffered humiliation, bigotry and even violence at the hands of retrograde forces. The CPI(M) has always supported the struggle against Section 377 which the Supreme Court has rightly held to be arbitrary and discriminatory.”