Updated September 6th, 2018 at 19:31 IST

India Rejects 377: Justice Chandrachud Quotes A Song By Leonard Cohen

While reading out the judgment, Judge Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud quoted the lyrics of 'Democracy' by Leonard Cohen

Reported by: Gunjan Kalati
| Image:self

Individuality, freedom of expression and choice stitched together define democracy. Presiding in a system of governance that propagates the idea of ‘For The People, Of The People And By The People’ the abolishment of Section 377 was a long-time pending. On Thursday, in a historic judgment, the 5-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court announced the strike down of the 158-year-old Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes homosexuality.

While reading out the judgment, Justice Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud quoted the lyrics of 'Ashes Of The Gay' by Leonard Cohen:


It's coming through a hole in the air,

It's coming from the feel

that this ain't exactly real,

or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.

From the wars against disorder,

from the sirens night and day,

from the fires of the homeless,

from the ashes of the gay:

Democracy is coming…"

The sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India, Dr. Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud is the former Judge of Bombay High Court and the former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court. Leonard Cohen’s 1990’s track titled, ‘Democracy’s hard-hitting lyrics about the negatives of democracy sparked a debate at the time.

Watch the video of the captivating track that was referred at the Supreme Court on Thursday:

Justice Chandrachud added that the state has no business to interfere in personal matters and “Section 377 to the extent of sexual acts between two consenting adults is unconstitutional”.

“Gays, lesbians, transgenders bisexuals should have equal participation in the society. Section 377 denies that to them”.

As per the judgment, Justice Chandrachud also stated that “there must come a time when constitutional guarantees of inclusion and equality overtake discrimination - that time is now.”



Section 377 of the IPC read, "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." While the law doesn't explicitly refer to LGBT, the very mention of "against the order of nature" has come to be referred for same-gender sexual relations.


Published September 6th, 2018 at 19:31 IST