In what may be termed as a historic judgement, the apex court recently delivered its much-awaited verdict on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and recognised homosexuality as a personal right of the consenting individuals.
The Court declared, “Section 377 IPC as irrational, indefensible and arbitrary. The majoritarian views and popular morality cannot dictate Constitutional rights.”
Apparently, this verdict delivered by a five-judge bench would put an end to the nation-wide debate among intellectuals on the subject of freedom of the trans-genders and their predictable strife.
Now by recognising their right to choose a partner of the same clan the Supreme Court has put the country in the league of similarly placed nations numbering just 25.
But the verdict has generated a lot of heat and dust in the country. The transgenders are a ‘special’ class itself.
The people belonging to this class suffer a physical aberration, obviously not of their making which compels them to live the whole life under mental depression, indignity and social stigma.
Indeed, it is regrettable that the new lawmakers since Independence never thought it fit to take remedial steps by amending this inhuman provision of law incorporated in the IPC some 157 years ago.
True, earlier in the year 2013 a division bench of the Supreme Court had held Section 377 as legally valid. Now the larger bench has upset the applecart. To this extent, it is a victory for the LGBT community.
Still, there is nothing to rejoice because the court verdict cannot change the attitude of the society.
The ill-informed vast majority in the society needs to be educated on the subject matter by conscious efforts and persuasive methods.
Besides the government which commands necessary wherewithal, community leaders and religious preachers can play a vital role in this regard.
The school syllabus should also contain lessons to explain how a physical inability turns a person LGBT and there is nothing wrong on the part of the victim of such a disability.
Though the age-old social taboos attached to the LGBT community would not be erased overnight, the beginning on these lines should be made in the right earnest.
Today, the courts have wiped out the stigma, tomorrow the government and one day thereafter the society at large fall in line.
AIMIM in court battle
As a prelude to the forthcoming elections, the Hyderabad based AIMIM party has been dragged in a court battle.
The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the party and fixed December 3 as the next date for further hearing on the plea of one Tirupati Narasimha Murari who inter alia alleged that the party had violated the principle of secularism and abused Hindu Gods and Godesses.
“The constitution of AIMIM clearly raises issues relating to Muslim community and thinks only for the welfare of Muslims, which is violative of the principles of secularism as envisaged by the Constitution of India,” said the petitioner who claimed to have contested Lok Sabha polls in 2014.
Now that the election battle flags are about to be unfurled, it would be no surprise that we may witness court battles, battles in the Election Commission and the street battles until and even after the conclusion of elections.
Lawyers up in arms
Following the recently delivered judgement of the Supreme Court, in Krishnakant Tamarkar Vs. State of MP which declared that strikes are in violation of law laid down by the apex court earlier and opined that the office-bearers of the associations cannot disown their liability for contempt, the country’s apex body of Advocates, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has taken cudgels against this judgement and called on the Bar Associations throughout the country to participate in nationwide demonstrations to be held in October to protest against the said judgement.
Besides asserting their right to call for strikes, the lawyers also would press their demand for insurance, mediclaim, pension, stipend and other welfare measures.
Indeed, it is imperative that there should be a cordial relationship between the Bar and the Bench for efficient and harmonious working of the judiciary.
The DNA of judges and advocates is the same since advocates become judges either by examination and selection process or by elevation. Further, the advocates are also the ‘Officers’ of the court.
Therefore, mutual respect and goodwill between these two essential wheels of the wagon of justice alone can ensure smooth and speedy delivery of justice. Therefore, the brewing discontent among lawyers needs to be attended to before it takes ugly turn.
Fashion shows are taxable
Removing the ambiguity about whether a ‘fashion show’ falls within the definition of ‘entertainment’ as per section 2 (e) (iii) of the Karnataka Entertainment Tax, the Karnataka High Court has held that a ‘fashion show’ falls within the expression ‘entertainment’ and therefore, taxable.
The judgement delivered by a division bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Krishna S. Dixit in W.A No. 843 of 2018 (T-ET) between M/s. Dream Merchants and State of Karnataka and another observed that it had been a ‘fashion show’ where there had been sponsorship and advertisements, where the apparels and dresses of various manufacturers were put in exhibition on mannequins as also on live models; and there had been lifestyle parties, after-hour parties too.
The court added; “..in a cumulative effect of the activities of the event in question, we are in no doubt that they were of such exhibitions and performances, which indeed provide amusement and entertainment.
Even if it served the business interests of the sponsors, the element of amusement and entertainment naturally woven in it cannot be taken out. The event organised by the appellant, therefore, clearly answers to the wide definition of ‘entertainment.’”
Pension for freedom fighter
Mr. K. Balakrishnan, a freedom fighter who was denied pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Sanman Scheme (SSS) on technical grounds was granted the same by the Madras High Court after hearing his petition.
The State government had rejected petitioner’s application on the ground that the co-prisoners whose certificates he had produced to substantiate his claim that he was imprisoned for eight months in Vellore jail between 1942 and 1943 were the prisoners at Allipuram Central Jail and Bellari District and Tanjore Jail respectively.
Terming the reasons cited by the State as “baseless,” Justice M.S Ramesh observed, “ The object of understanding the freedom fighters pension is to recognise the involvement of freedom fighters, who had struggled for our country and were also imprisoned for such struggle.
When the Scheme was floated with a noble object, it is rather unfortunate that the respondent herein had been taking such baseless reasoning for rejecting the petitioner’s request.”
While it is true that a ‘genuine’ freedom fighter should be respected and awarded the pension under SSS or any other scheme, perhaps the State was cautious or rather over-cautious in the matter to verify the genuineness of the petitioner’s claim in the light of the past experience of granting such benefits to hundreds of ‘Bogus’ freedom fighters!