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Mumbai boy Darshan Mandhana finally wins Mr Gay India crown on third attempt

Picture Source: Facebook
Picture Source: Facebook

Published on 12th February, 2017 in Mid-day

In the finale round held in Mumbai on Friday, 31-year-old Darshan Mandhana was crowned Mr Gay World India (MGWI) 2017. Mandhana, an HR professional from Mumbai, had made it to the top three, along with Sai Ganesh Krishnamurthy from Bangalore and Rohan Pujari from Mumbai. Last year, Anwesh Sahoo from Odisha had won this title.

Mandhana had participated in MGWI twice before, but didn’t make it. Speaking to mid-day, an overjoyed Mandhana said, “It is an honour to be winning a pageant that stands for a larger cause. I had made a lot of effort to prepare myself this year.”

He hails from Jaiselpur near Kolhapur, Maharashtra, and says that the support of his family and the community played a key role. “My family loves me the way I am which gives me strength. My partner and the community were by my side and they guided me through the journey,” he says.

Mandhana’s entry would now be submitted to the world pageant, which is to be held in Spain this year. “It is a huge responsibility to be representing the community and the country at the world pageant,” he said. “The expectations are to build on a strong personality with respect to diction and body sculpting. There will be training sessions from
experts as well.”

Commenting on Mandhana’s victory, National Producer of MGWI, Sushant Divgikar and Mr Gay World 2014, said, “It is not just a beauty pageant, but about finding a global leader for the LGBT community. Mandhana’s never-give-up attitude was loved by the judges a lot and contributed to his victory,” said Divgikar.

Coming from a modest background, Mandhana says, he stayed strong to reach this far. “This competition states that each one of us can stand up for ourselves and make a difference,” he signed off.

What the stars had to say about IPC Section 377

Aamir Khan

Aamir Khan: I am more disappointed with this judgement. It feels very intolerant and violative of basic human rights. It’s a shame.

Onir: I am angry by the SC ruling on IPC 377. Very very disappointed that the bench of the Supreme Court hold us to regressive colonial 153-year-old IPC 377. A dark day for the history of judiciary and human rights in India.

Celina Jaitly: I cannot believe Supreme Court’s decision. I have been in shock since it came. Such a contradiction of democracy.

Karan Johar: Section 377 is not just a violation of human rights but also makes democracy seem like a mirage in our country.
Shekhar Kapur: Cops asking for bribes and innocent young people getting beaten up thru homophobia provoked by #sec377 Whats else is Supreme Court’s point?

Konkona Sen Sharma: You cannot tell someone whom to love or how to think!

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Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra: It’s scary that we can have rulings like this.

Ayushmann Khurrana: The ruling is shameful and is the lowest ebb of democracy & mankind. Welcome to the dark ages #Sec377.

Bipasha Basu: It is prejudiced and it goes against the right to equality!

Parineeti Chopra: No legal system of any country can decide who you want to love.

Vidya Balan: #Sec377 is a stain on all Indians, and not merely its gay populace.

Anushka Sharma: Taking away someone’s freedom is the hugest violation in my personal opinion.

Soha Ali Khan Pataudi: I am shocked by the regressive ruling. It’s an international embarrassment.

Siddharth Malhotra

Siddharth Malhotra: We are free to love who ever we want, laws can’t give you guidelines.

Sujoy Ghosh: I think it’s a damn good opportunity for the parliament to do the right thing and scrap the law forever”

Imtiaz Ali: “A basic right, a natural choice is being axed.

Malaika Arora Khan: We’re getting condemned for making love, while violence happens in broad daylight.

Varun Dhawan: #Sec377 is plain stupid. It’s as good as still being a slave.

Vivek Oberoi: An extremely regressive ruling!

Arjun Kapoor: It’s sad that the govt would call it a criminal offense to love someone of our own choice.

John Abraham: India has harboured archaic prejudices once again… The Supreme Court has criminalized homosexuality… Shame.

Farhan Akhtar

Farhan Akhtar: The Supreme Court got it wrong today. Sec377.

Madhur Bhandarkar: Just when we thought we are looking into the future, comes a judgment that treats us like we are in the stone age. The disappointment is justified.

Chetan Bhagat: What?! Consensual gay sex ruled illegal in 2014? Shows you how badly India needs new young leaders with a modern outlook.

Shruti Haasan: 11.12.13 a day that reminds us how blatant regressing and oppressing someone has become – plan b move bedroom to another planet and time.

Sudhir Mishra: The decision declaring gay consensual sex illegal betrays a primitive Victorian mind. It is certainly not Indian.

Kunal Kohli: On 11-12-13 Supreme Court goes back to the medieval ages with Section 377.

Anupam Kher: We obviously don’t believe in equal rights even in the times when we send Mangalayan to Mars.

Kalki Koechlin: Supreme Court’s job is to uphold the right and freedom of every individual, not to decide what is culturally acceptable or not. In this case they failed.

Shruti Seth: So while the world is trying to legalise gay marriage, here’s what we’re doing as a nation. Such a disgrace!

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Reitesh Deshmukh

Riteish Deshmukh: Supreme Mis-judgement.

Nikhil Advani: Welcome to the medieval ages! It was only a matter of time.

Neha Dhupia: How can love be illegal?

Rahul Bose: So much for those believing the judiciary is ‘the last bastion of common sense’ in this country.

Vinay Pathak: Supreme Court – Straight or scared!

Milap Zaveri: Nothing supreme about the court’s decision. Shocked and disappointed at the anti-gay verdict.

Vir Das: Today is 11.12.13. Unless you work in our Supreme Court, in which case it’s the year 1826.

Sandhya Mridul: The courts are unfortunately only following the law of the land, which are as old as the dinosaurs. Blame the legislature more than Supreme Court!

Hansal Mehta: Does India not have a single gay judge? Or does being gay mean that you can only be unfairly judged?

Siddharth: India is a bigot nation. I pray that every person who tries to deny another person their rights gets IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). Bigots beware.

Richa Chadda
Richa Chadda

Richa Chadda: The Supreme Court criminalises love, again. Sad day.

Nachiket Barve: The problems of this world are because of what happens ‘without consent’ rather than what happens between ‘consenting adults’! wake up!

Shabana Azmi: Shocking judgement! Upholding 377 is violative of human rights n anti democratic. SC says Parliament shud scrap 377- it MUST. Criminal? How?

Making criminals of us all

Fri Dec 13 2013, 00:23 hrs
Menaka Guruswamy

The 377 judgment is not about gay sex alone. It bans ‘unnatural’ sexual acts, irrespective of gender, age or consent.

The judgment in Suresh Kumar Kaushal vs Naz Foundation (Kaushal) does not only criminalise “gay sex”, as has been widely reported. Undeniably, the judgment ignores the constitutional rights of millions of LGBT Indian citizens (as opposed to what Justice Singhvi calls the minuscule LGBT community and their “so-called rights”). However, Kaushal criminalises certain sexual acts performed by same- and opposite-sex couples that can be classified as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.

What are these acts, we may ask? According to the court, “the acts which fall within the ambit of the section can only be determined with reference to the act itself and the circumstances in which it is executed”. The court then refers to a series of cases that involved the commission of these criminal acts. These include cases like R vs Jacobs (1917), which deals with the commission of sodomy, and Khanu vs Emperor (1934), which deals with carnal intercourse with a bullock. Further, the judgment refers to a series of cases that relate to anal sex being performed on young boys in Lohana vs the State (1968), Fazal Rab Choudhary vs State of Bihar (1982) and Kedar Nath vs State of Rajasthan (1985). Finally, the court referred to Calvin Francis vs Orissa (1992), which involved forcing a six-year-old child to perform oral sex.

Justice Singhvi relies on these cases to conclude that the acts that fall within the ambit of Section 377 “can be determined with reference to the act itself and the circumstances in which it is executed”. The judges rightly reason that these cases all deal with non-consensual and coercive situations. They observe that they “were apprehensive whether the court would rule similarly in a case of proved consensual intercourse between adults.” However, they use this alleged apprehension to conclude that it is difficult to prepare a list of acts covered by the section. Strange, given that the precedent points to coercive sex involving children or animals as being the problem, and not simply acts of anal or oral sex.

However, it is not this flawed reasoning that is the biggest problem in Kaushal. It is the next step that confounds. Despite accepting that the cases pertain to coercive sex, the judge finds that Section 377 will apply irrespective of age and consent. He goes on to say that the section itself does not criminalise “a particular people or identity or orientation. It merely identifies certain acts which if committed would constitute an offence. Such a prohibition regulates sexual conduct regardless of gender identity and orientation”.

Kaushal has further missteps. The first pertains to non-consideration of substantial and significant contentions made. Justice Singhvi writes that the respondents did not furnish particulars of harassment and assault of sexual minorities by public authorities. This is a shocking lapse by the judge, since affidavits were filed by a transgendered person, and a gay man from Delhi — both of whom were gangraped by the police. These affidavits were read in a sombre courtroom by senior counsel Ashok Desai. In addition, a reported judgment, Jayalakshmi vs State (2007), which dealt with the rape of a transgendered man by the police, was also part of the record. The Madras High Court found that this was rape by the police, awarded compensation of Rs 5 lakh and directed disciplinary action. Reports from civil society actors that spoke to the harassment that gay and lesbian Indians faced were also filed.

The interveners also filed compelling affidavits of parents of LGBT children that spoke of the stigma and discrimination their children faced in daily life. Justice Singhvi either neglected to consider the evidence by way of affidavits that were adduced, or ignored them altogether. Such non-consideration is a manifest error.

Then there is the judge’s jurisprudential inconsistency. He writes that the court must exercise self-restraint in judicial review and that there should be a presumption of constitutionality of legislation. The judge is right in citing these as general principles. Yet, this has never been a barrier to finding unconstitutional that which violates the protections afforded by our Constitution. This same judge in Delhi Jal Board vs National Campaign for Dignity and Rights of Sewerage and Allied Workers & Others, in 2011, declared that “whenever the judiciary has issued directions for ensuring that the right to equality, life and liberty no longer remains illusory… a theoretical debate is started by raising the bogey of judicial activism or judicial overreach”. In this case, Justice Singhvi upheld the Delhi High Court’s orders providing free medical treatment, compensation for occupational illnesses, provision of modern equipment, soap and oil, restrooms, canteens and ex-gratia payments for deaths.

This judgment has other jurisprudential flaws, like a lack of discussion of the violation of the rights to expression, life, liberty and dignity. Its analysis of the violation of equality rights reflects a poor understanding of the case law. It fails to engage any of the contentions made by the respondents and the interveners.

Perhaps the Kaushal bench would have done well to remember Jawaharlal Nehru’s words of warning. In September 1949, speaking in the Constituent Assembly, Nehru said that “unless and until the courts are empowered and the courts are the final arbiters of the civil rights and liberties of the people, I feel that if the legislatures alone are given the power we are coming to a point where fiats of executive officers will deny us our rights and this is very wrong”.

By criminalising consensual sexual acts of adults in private (which the Delhi High Court read out of the purview of Section 377), the Kaushal bench did worse than what Nehru imagined. Instead of protecting the rights of consenting adults, it chose to negate the decision of the executive of not contesting the high court’s judgment. The executive stated that it saw no legal error in the decision and hence found no reason to appeal against it. The attorney general categorically told the court that his instructions were that the government has accepted the decision of the high court. Strangely, the judgment ascribes to the attorney general the role of amicus. This is blatantly wrong.

The final problem with Kaushal is that it is an exception to the jurisprudence of the SC. From the banning of bonded labour in Bandhua Mukti Morcha vs Union of India, to ensuring the right to healthcare for suffering asbestos workers in CERC vs Union, to crafting guidelines pertaining to arrest, custody and interrogation of the accused in D.K. Basu vs State of West Bengal, the apex court has always expanded rights and protected the historically disadvantaged and socially vulnerable. Kaushal, by belittling the “so-called rights of LGBT persons”, is the exception to this jurisprudential trajectory.

But before Suresh Kumar Kaushal and his compatriots — the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Trust God Missionaries, Krantikari Manuwadi Morcha and others — rejoice, they should be aware that this judgment criminalises certain prospective acts of their members as well. It criminalises all of us. It diminishes the constitutional promises of equality, dignity and fraternity for and by all Indians.

The writer practices law at the Supreme Court of India. She represented filmmaker Shyam Benegal, an intervener, in this case.



When : Sunday, 15th December. 2013. 3pm onwards

The Protest gathering against IPC 377 will be formally at Maheshwari Udyan Park, Matunga on Sunday, 15th December @ 3PM to 6PM.

1. Spread the word.
2. Get everyone you know
3. Wear Black
4. Or Black Ribbon
5. Bring candles
6. Bring banners//posters//placards
7. Wear mask if need be
8. Art accessories for poster making will be provided at the venue. Limited supplies though.
9. Black ribbon & candles will be provided at the venue. Limited supplies though.
10. Click pictures on your way to the venue, and post them across social media platforms.
11. Display your banner & placards in trains, buss, or prominent spaces on your way to the venue.
12. We need speakers to address the crowd, in many languages as possible. (Topics of discussion I have mentioned in the 12th Dec meeting minutes)

Time is set people, lets show them minority might