New Delhi: One of the leading Islamic institutions of India, the Darul Uloom Deoband on Thursday slammed the Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalise homosexuality.  The top court had decriminalised homosexuality between consenting adults by declaring Section 377, the penal provision which criminalised gay sex, as “manifestly arbitrary”.

Deoband’s Ulema Mufti Maulana Asad Quasmi said, “According to Shariat, homosexuality is haram and illegitimate. This decision is against natural behaviour and anyone with their right mind will not accept this decision because Islam forbids homosexuality.” (sic).”  (ALSO READ: Government Has no Space in Bedrooms, Says Shashi Tharoor)

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra termed the part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which crimiminalises unnatural sex as irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.

The verdict sparked celebrations in the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community across India. Many of the community members who had assembled outside the apex court jumped in joy and distributed sweets.

The top court delivering separate but concurring judgments said it is the constitutional and not social morality which will prevail. The verdict sparked celebrations amongst the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community across India.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, also speaking for Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, said attitude and mentality have to change to accept the others’ identity and accept what they are and not what they should be. Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra delivered concurring judgments thereby making the verdict of the five-judge bench a unanimous one.

The Bench had been hearing pleas challenging the validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This year, in July 2018, the Bench had re-opened the issue, saying a section of people could not live in fear of the law. The apex court heard the writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current IIT students. They had sought decriminalization of consensual sex between two consenting adults of the same sex by declaring section 377 of IPC as illegal and unconstitutional. On July 17, the Bench had asserted that it will not wait for a “majoritarian government” to decide on enacting, amending or striking down a law that tends to violate the fundamental rights.