The 5 Men And Women Who Challenged Ban On Homosexuality

The 5 Men And Women Who Challenged Ban On Homosexuality

Five celebrity petitioners in their plea said Section 377 violated the right to life and personal liberty

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today has said homosexuality is not a crime in India. The top court pronounced its verdict on petitions challenging the colonial-era Section 377 that criminalises consensual gay sex. In 2013, the Supreme Court had cancelled a Delhi high court order that had decriminalized homosexuality, by overturning the outdated law, saying it was up to parliament to take a call on scrapping laws. Five celebrities, in 2016, petitioned the Supreme Court to reconsider its own ruling. Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who headed the five judge bench hearing the case said,"Respect for each others rights is supreme humanity. Criminalising gay sex is irrational and indefensible."

Here is a look at the petitioners

  1. Navtej Singh Johar, 59, is a renowned classical dancer and winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, who had petitioned the Supreme Court along with his partner of 25 years and said that Section 377 violated the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by the constitution. Mr Johar is a visiting faculty at the Ashoka University.

  2. Sunil Mehra, 63, is a journalist and the former editor of the Indian edition of Maxim magazine. He is an actor and exponent of dastangoi, a 13th century form of storytelling. He has directed, produced, written and anchored 'Centrestage' on Doordarshan. Along with Navtej Singh Johar, his partner of over two decades, he has co-founded Studio Abhyas.

  3. Ritu Dalmia, 45, is a celebrity chef and owner of the niche restaurant chain Diva. She has written several books and has also hosted food shows on television. Born in Kolkata to a Marwari business family, Ms Dalmia joined her family business when she was a teenager. A globe trotter, Ms Dalmia specialized in Italian cuisine. She has written travelogues and many cookbooks. One of her bestsellers is Travelling Diva: Recipes from around the World in 2012.

  4. Aman Nath, 61, is the owner of the Neemrana chain of hotels. Passionate about history and architecture, Aman Nath has written several books on history and arts. He is also a poet and a prolific writer, who has co-written and authored 13 illustrated books on art, history, architecture and photography. Aman Nath's work was the first Indian book chosen by Christie's for worldwide distribution.

  5. Ayesha Kapur, 44, is a businesswoman associated with the food and beverages industry.