(With inputs from PTI)

A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court today began hearing the pleas seeking the scrapping of Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises homosexuality.

The SC on Monday (9 July) had refused to adjourn the hearing by a five-judge Constitution bench despite the Centre seeking more time to file its response on the PILs on gay sex. Today (10 July), the court, including Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, said it would examine the constitutional validity of section 377 of the IPC and the fundamental rights of the LGBTQ (Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community.

The hearing is on a batch of petitions challenging the SC’s verdict that had re-criminalised consensual carnal acts between two adults.

However, we spoke with some LGBTQ members across India to know their reaction on the upcoming verdict.

Drag Queen Prateek Sachdeva, who is a dancer and a choreographer, feels like a student who is waiting for his viva. He said, "I am very excited about the verdict; it is like you are sitting outside the examination hall waiting for viva. My heart is pounding like crazy and we have hopes of getting full marks, still we are not sure and are anxious about it."

He also added, "We want this to happen, and if the verdict goes against us we will fight for it and it won't stop here." Our support base has increased, and now they can't ignore or delay."

Sudipto Biswas, a member of the community, has high hopes, "I want them to scrap the Section 377 because it is long overdue now. I think it will be on our side as the right of privacy was also on our side, so fingers crossed now."      

Alex, who is the PR manager of Lalit Hotel, Bangalore, talks about human rights, "At the end of the day, what matters is human rights and love for all. So that is what I always look forward to. We all deserve love and we don't need to be under any law that we cant love." He also added, "I am scared of holding a guy's hand in public but if it is overturned then I don't have to be scared.. this is what I am looking forward to." 

He also said that the fight would go on if the verdict is against us as this is not the first time it has happened. We fought and won the right to privacy." 

On the other hand, Saleem Kidwai, who is a medieval historian and also a gay rights activist, said, "I am not expecting anything, I am just waiting for the SC verdict. I am too old to start garnering hopes. Now I am just hoping for the best and will prepare for the worst. I have seen the high court judgement and later the Supreme Court's. I am not prepared to go through these ups and downs once again."

The nation waits eagerly!