4 petitioners who fought for gay rights and against Section 377

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s a moment of gay abandon, not just for those who identify themselves as LGBTQIA, but others as well.

The Supreme Court verdict today struck down the 158-year-old British-era law that criminalised homosexuality and gave a go-ahead to gay sex between consenting adults in private.

The court said sexual orientation is a biological phenomenon and observed that any discrimination on this ground violates fundamental rights.

Here are some of the petitioners:

NAVTEJ JAUHAR, dancer

A dancer and rights activist, Jauhar’s legal fight to decriminalise gay sex began in 2016 when he, along with other activists including his partner, filed a petition in the SC against Section 377.

For years, Jauhar refused to be defined by his sexuality and rose to be a doyen in his chosen profession. The 59-year-old and his partner, journalist Sunil Mehra, 63 were convinced by a lawyer friend to be at the forefront of the fight. Jauhar in an interview in July said that he decided to step forward as ‘putting a face to the cause helps’.

SUNIL MEHRA, journalist

Not just a well-known journalist, Mehra is also an actor and exponent of dastangoi, a 13th-century form of oral storytelling. He and his partner Jauhar have been together for over 25 years.

While neither he nor his partner initially planned to play an active role in the battle to decriminalise gay sex, in 2016 when Menaka Guruswamy, a constitutional lawyer friend, suggested it was time to give a human face to the 20-year-old legal battle they acquiesced. Since then Mehra has been the face of the war.

AMAN NATH, writer

61-year-old Nath is a well-known writer and architectural restorer. He is also the co- founder and co-chairman of India’s famous boutique chain of heritage hotels the Neemrana Group, along with his partner late Francis Wacziarg.

The couple has an adopted daughter named Aadhya Nath. Born and brought up in New Delhi, Nath completed his education with a PG degree in medieval Indian history from Delhi University. Nath’s work was the first Indian book chosen by Christie’s for worldwide distribution.

KESHAV SURI, hotelier

33-year-old Keshav Suri is an executive director of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. His is the son of the late hotelier Lalit Suri, founding chairman and owner of Bharat Hotels.

The group’s night-club, Kitty Su, a brain-child of Keshav himself, works towards an inclusive society and is known for offering employment to differently-abled and LGBTQI community members. Suri, in his petition in court, has said he is in a committed relationship with another adult man for nearly a decade.