Monday, July 06, 2009

Gays, eunuchs have 135 cases pending


Gays, eunuchs have 135 cases pending

6 Jul 2009, 0123 hrs IST, Viju B , TNN

MUMBAI: The city police have registered 135 criminal cases pertaining to unnatural sex under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code over the last ten years. Significantly, all these cases are still pending at various police stations.

TOI spoke to a cross-section of homosexuals and eunuchs who said a majority of these cases was filed to harass the LGBT community. "Recently, two eunuchs who were travelling in a second class compartment were thrown out by cops though they had valid tickets. They were then put behind bars and asked to strip,'' alleged Abhijit Aher, who has been associated with Humsafar Trust, an NGO that works for the welfare of LGBTs.

Aher said there were several instances where eunuchs were put behind bars when all they were doing was begging or having commercial sex. "Members of this community resort to begging and commercial sex as nobody in the society is willing to offer them a decent livelihood,'' he added.

Members of the city's gay community say sometimes masseurs offer consensual sex and then try to extort money from them by threatening to file cases against them. "In many cases, the homosexual persons pay the exorbitant amount as they fear they may have to appear in court if a case is filed against him under Section 377 of the IPC,'' Aher said.

Section 377 of the IPC says that any person who has voluntary carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment that may extend up to ten years, and will also be liable to a fine.

"This section has been misused by the police and it is high time the law is amended,'' said IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y P Singh.

Agrees RTI activist Chetan Kothari, who has filed a query on this issue. "The fact that a large number of cases are still pending shows that the police are not interested,'' he said. Gay activists said though they welcomed the Delhi high court order, they were not sure if it would have an immediate impact on the cases filed against members of their community.




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