The Lawyers Behind Abolishing Article 377 Have Been A Couple For A While But They Waited Because Of This Reason
So I’ve always been the kind who could never lie to anyone, no matter what. What I’d want to do, was writ large over my face despite me trying to do my best impression of a popular actor. My awkward and uncomfortable smile would always give me away. So eventually, I embraced this habit/condition and sought to stick to the truth. And if there is one thing that it has ended up teaching me, it is that even the truth sometimes needs to be carefully outed, at the right time and the right place. One concept that the incredible lawyers responsible behind the decriminalisation of article 377 – Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju- used beautifully.
Amazing couple! I loved this conversation. https://t.co/Y52xp2JqTb
— Fareed Zakaria (@FareedZakaria) July 16, 2019
The 157-year-old law considered ‘unnatural’ sex between two consenting individuals a criminal offence, and has been challenged numerous times over the years until 2018, when it was finally overturned once in for all, thanks to the lawyers Menaka and Arundhati, who fought this long and hard battle even when the chances were bleak. But their will? Stronger than ever. And in a recent interview of the two with CNN, we have finally learned the reason behind that undying faith. Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju in a candid chat revealed to the world how the two are a couple and the world lost its calm.
The main litigators opened up about being in a relationship with each other. The discussion that had them talking about their own feelings, about the case and its many facets, revealed how the 2013 verdict of again criminalising the act that was decriminalised by the High Court in 2009, was more than a professional loss for them. ‘It was a personal loss’, they said.
Menaka further shared how they decided to not declare the relationship by saying, “It is not nice to be a ‘criminal’ who has to go back to court as a lawyer to argue other cases” and we could totally understand their emotion. A country like India, that if we’re being honest, is eons behind in its views, doesn’t make it easy for the LGBTQ+ community to survive. On top of that, if word was out that the two head runners for the case were a couple, chances would have been that the two would either not be allowed to take it up or worse, not be taken seriously.
The lawyers who had also argued the case in court in 2013 when the Supreme Court upheld the criminalization of Section 377 also commented, “We had a court where we practiced as lawyers … and this court had just told us that gay people were second class citizens.” No wonder the two decided to wait till after to announce their love.
— arundhatikatju (@arundhatikatju) July 18, 2019
Both Arundhati and Menaka, as they bask in the success of their win and the glory of their love, believe the ruling of article 377 in 2018 would help many other countries to use it as an argument to overturn similar laws in their country. They also recently shared a post on Twitter taking part in the #sareetwitter challenge, captioning it, “Most court days you’ll find me in a sari! Something about the 6 yards makes me sit up a little straighter, collect my thoughts and energy for arguments”.
Also Read : Two Indian Women Lawyers Are In The 100 Most Influential People List For Overturning Section 377
If anything, the litigators have taught us to never give up or let go of what you believe in without a fight, but most importantly, to always gauge your actions and act accordingly. Today, the lawyers stand tall and proud, with no one to call them second-class, and that speaks for itself.