"Today is like an Independence Day for us," petitioner and transgender activist Akkai of Bengaluru told NDTV, soon after the Supreme Court modified the law criminalizing homosexuality in the country. Thousands belonging to the LGBT community hailed the top court's order calling Section 377 "irrational and indefensible."
From lawyers representing petitioners to activists to artists spoke to NDTV about their long struggle to see this day. "I am honoured to fight this case. The judges were unequivocal. And the persistence of the LGBT community resulted in this victory," said Maneka Guruswamy lawyer who fought against Section 377.
Ms Guruswamy praised Justice Indu Malhotra, who said "History owes an apology to the LGBT community for denying them rights and compelling them to live a life of fear." She also hailed the media for being with the community since 2013, when the top court had struck down the Delhi High Court order decriminalizing gay sex.
Activist Harish Iyer praised NDTV saying "it was the channel who in 2013 had said this is not just a matter of debate...one cannot be written off as a minuscule minority."
"People have got a second freedom and it is a victory for an inclusive society. Majoritarian thinking cannot dictate morality," said Anand Grover, a lawyer who represented the petitioners.
"It's a historic verdict," said actor Nandita Das. She spoke about how the film 'Fire' made in 1996, had a role to play in the fight against Section 377. The film directed by Deepa Mehta, starring Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi, was a sensitive story of how two women, who were abused by their husbands, found solace in each other.
"Denial of self-expression is inviting death. Irreplaceability of individuality and identity is grant of respect to self. This realization is one's signature and self-determined design. One defines oneself. That is the glorious form of individuality," said the Chief Justice of India while delivering the landmark judgement decriminalizing gay sex today.