May 21, 2019

India Repeals Colonial-Era Anti-Gay Legislation

“The significance of the years-long marathon battle by India’s LGBTQ community and its heterosexual allies is not confined to the celebration of gay rights. In an age coarsened by polarization in politics and name-calling on prime-time television shows, this is a thoughtful warning against majoritarianism and mobocracy. It is a reminder that the country’s core is still fenced in by its constitution. And it is a sad illustration of how the true protectors of that constitution and the Indian republic are no longer India’s elected lawmakers but its courts.

India is legally a parliamentary democracy but, at its heart, it is now essentially a judicial democracy.

We call ourselves the world’s largest democracy; our electoral process has never been interrupted or hijacked by other forces (unlike in Pakistan). In 2014, there were 814 million eligible Indian voters, making it the largest poll exercise in history. But elections alone don’t make a democracy. When it comes to the country’s most sensitive decisions, our votes would appear to have been wasted. Our elected democratic representatives have looked away, or worse, have outsourced all the political risk to the judiciary.”

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