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Section 377 verdict: Literature and poetry colour the judgment

By September 10, 2018No Comments


The four Supreme Court judges who entered history by penning one of the most memorable judgments granting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community right to be recognized as full citizens did it with a brush of drama and poetry.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, well-known for his passion for literature, started his judgment with the quote, “I am what I am, so take me as I am” by the great German thinker Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. CJI drew from his love for Shakespeare to convey that what really matters is the fundamental characteristics of an entity and not the name by which a person or entity is called.

Taking cue from CJI, Justice RF Nariman read out a couplet by Lord Alfred Douglas, the lover of Oscar Wilde which said, “The love that dare not speak its name”.

Justice DY Chandrachud held the entire courtroom rapt as he read out a few lines from the song ‘Democracy’ by Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen. “Democracy, it’s coming through a hole in the air…from the ashes of the gay, Democracy is coming,” the judge said. His judgment also recorded a poem by Vikram Seth titled ‘Through Love’s Great Power’.

But it was the CJI who summed up the day with his original composition, “Let us move from darkness to light, from bigotry to tolerance and from the winter of mere survival to the spring of life ? as the herald of a New India ? to a more inclusive society.”

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