Why Arundhati Katju & Menaka Guruswamy Sharing Their Couple Status Matters

Posted: July 20, 2019

Remember the revolutionary lawyers Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy who fought against the archaic section 377? Now they have inspired us even more – by coming out as a couple.

The fight against the archaic 157-year-old Section 377 that criminalised consensual homosexual relationships, was a long-term campaign. Among others, it was orchestrated by two amazing public-interest litigators, Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy. (Regular readers may recall reading about them in my piece on 8 stellar female advocates in India).

In September 2018, India truly embraced the concept of equality when a five-judge panel of the Supreme Court struck down this law. Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju played a very important role in fighting against the archaic law.

Recently in an interview given to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria these two Supreme Court lawyers, opened up about their being a couple. It’s been almost a year after their victory in the court and their coming out publicly as a couple is once again a big inspiration to many.

In 2013, the Supreme Court had overturned a very progressive 2009 judgement of the Delhi High Court which struck down portions of Section 377. In the interview cited above, both lawyers spoke of how the 2013 setback was a personal loss. They said, “That’s right. The loss in 2013 was a loss as lawyers, a loss as citizens. It was a personal loss. It is not nice to be a ‘criminal’ who has to go back to court as a lawyer to argue other cases.”

By sharing their relationship, Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju have inspired many other people. In a country where most families come down heavily on same sex relationships, such stories will be a ray of hope to many.

More about their battle

Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju have dedicated her entire lives to the cause of upholding justice. Guruswamy is a Rhodes scholar who has a LLM degree from the Harvard Law School. She also has a D.Phil from Oxford University. Katju is also a James Kent scholar and holds an LLM degree from Columbia University. Together they have been fighting against Section 377 and arguing for the Naz Foundation which was the petitioner in the case.

Recently in a TED Talk, Katju expressed how unjust that law is, ‘The law was an expression of the Victorian-era morality but it had come to be understood as an expression of conservative Indian social values. It was a Criminal law that shuts down your aspirations.’

They were also named in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2019.

These two inspirational lawyers are have not just provided people with legal aid and their fundamental right to equality but have also inspired many people to claim their true selves.

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