Proceedings on Sec 377 live tweeted from Supreme Court

Jul 12, 2018, 08:57 IST | Hemal Ashar

Proceedings on Sec 377 live tweeted from SC; filmmakers' petition on how Act affects freedom of creative expression comes up today

Proceedings on Sec 377 live tweeted from Supreme Court
Filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community is on the edge of their seats as the Supreme Court's five-person bench is hearing a slew of petitions filed against Section 377. The petitioners range from chefs to dancers, well-known activists, hoteliers, IIT students and alumni and writers.

Section 377 is a colonial era law that criminalises consensual sex between two same sex adults. Court proceedings are being live-tweeted. There are real time updates on websites closing the gap between the people and the judicial process and bringing in greater transparency.

Looking forward
Mumbai filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan, organiser-in-chief of the city's annual LGBT film festival Kashish, is also among the petitioners comprising 20 IIT alumni and students, whose petition was heard on Wednesday, Day 2 of the hearing.

Rangayan said, "A couple of filmmakers, including myself, have filed an 'intervention', set to come up for hearing today [Thursday], that says broadly that Sec 377 is an impediment to freedom of expression as creative people, and directly impacts censorship laws in India."

No certificate
Rangayan shores up his intervention premise with a personal example. "My film, Pink Mirror, for instance, which dealt with homosexuality, was denied any kind of certification by the Censor Board. This was in 2002. I appealed thrice to the Censor Boards in Mumbai and Delhi but was told that the film was vulgar and could not be given any certification. It had featured two drag queens and a gay man. That effectively meant that the film was canned. It will be very interesting to hear what the judges, who seem attentive and extremely receptive to hearing different viewpoints, have to say when this intervention comes up."

Twitter feed
Like much of the community not in Delhi, Rangayan has been following proceedings on social media. There has been live tweeting with Twitter handles on overdrive, updates on real time on websites, synopsis of events even as they unfold, it is 'virtually' like watching the court proceedings live. The SFLC.in, a Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services organisation is live tweeting the proceedings through the handle @SFLCin twitter handle.

Virtual world
A spokesperson said they were live tweeting because, "We believe it is important to bridge the gap between the judiciary and those impacted by its decisions. Technology can play a big role in this regard, opening up the judicial process to a national audience."

The biggest smile should be on the face of senior advocate Indira Jaising who recently called live streaming of all court proceedings (except in sensitive cases) the "need of the hour". In January this year, the feisty Jaising had approached the apex court with a petition on this.

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