Meet Menaka Guruswamy, the Wonder Woman Who Helped Win the 377 Case

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Meet Menaka Guruswamy, the Wonder Woman Who Helped Win the 377 Case

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

G

oodbye, and good riddance to Section 377. In what will be remembered as a historical moment for equal rights in India, the Supreme Court took the long overdue step of striking down the Victorian relic that was Section 377. The law will no longer distinguish between different kinds of love, and it’s been a long, arduous journey to get to this point, and it’s taken years of hard work from individuals like Menaka Guruswamy. The Supreme Court lawyer will be forever remembered as the advocate whose petition led to today’s paradigm-changing decision by the Supreme Court.

When the Supreme Court, in 2013, overruled the Delhi High Court’s 2009 decision to scrap 377, Justice G S Singhvi declared that he had “never met a gay person”. This must have come as a shock to the thousands of LGBTQ Indians across the country, for whom this statement was a denial of their very existence. In response to Justice Singhvi’s remarks, Guruswamy filed a writ petition to scrap 377 on behalf of five citizens: Dancer and artist Navtej Singh Johar and his partner journalist Sunil Mehra, restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath, and marketing professional Ayesha Kapur. Guruswamy also represented a group of IIT students in the matter.

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