'How can being in love be a crime?'

‘How can you make love illegal’, is what Neha Dhupia tweeted in reaction to the Supreme Court’s judgment. But with that one swooping decision, thousands fear the end of their relationships. “I fear to kiss my girlfriend,” said Namrata, who has been in a relationship with her girlfriend Annie for the last two-and-a-half years. She’s afraid that the love and respect she found with Annie will now come to an end.

Deepak Kashyap (in blue) and Jerry Johnson, who have been living together for the last 5 years, worry they won’t be able to find a home now and that they would have to be even more secretive. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

“I came out to my parents as a lesbian, but Annie hasn’t and the apex court’s decision has only made it that much more difficult to tell her parents,” said a worried Namrata, adding that she feels terrible as she is now also labelled a criminal. “How can being in love make me a criminal?” she said. And it’s not just Namrata who worries about her relationship.

Harpreet Singh, who has been in a steady relationship with Anand Makhija for the last 14 years, was devastated. “I expected a positive judgment. I though that in this day and age, the apex court would be the hero at a time when the government refused to help. But they too let us down. All we are asking is to be given the right to love whomever we choose to. I thought, that was our basic right as human beings in a civilised society.”

Couples like Namrata and Annie, and Harpreet and Anand, said that the judgment had further pushed them into the closet and will now make them more secretive than they were in the past. Deepak Kashyap and Jerry Johnson have been staying together for the past five years in a rented home in the city.

“My family hasn’t accepted my relationship, but we stay on our own terms. But the judgment has now forced us to be even more secretive. We might even find it hard to find a home in the city,” said Jerry to MiD DAY. Deepak said he moved to the city from Delhi after he met Jerry on a social networking site and fell in love with him. “It feels terrible that all of a sudden my relationship has been termed illegal. Whatever I do in my home is illegal because of the Supreme Court order.”

Section 377 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Unnatural offences Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Tweet talk

Supreme Mis-judgement #Section377.
- Ritesh Deshmukh, actor-producer

On 11-12-13 #SupremeCourt goes back to the medieval ages with #Sec377.
- Kunal Kohli, director

I am ashamed. #377 there is nothing more frightening than the revelation that the guardians of democracy have turned undemocratic”.
- Dia Mirza, actress-producer

Just when we thought we r looking into d future, comes a judgement that treats us like we r in d stone age. The disappointment is justified.
- Madhur Bhandarkar, filmmaker

Love n support to all the people who woke up this morning to d news that they r criminals again. The Supreme Court verdict ABSOLUTELY SUCKS.
- Reema Kagti, director

My dear friends from the LGBT community, the next time anybody speaks to you about how great India is, take a selfie of you slapping them.
- Siddharth, actor

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