'Its A Personal Win Too', Guruswamy And Katju Talk About Sec.377 Verdict Which Impacted Them As A Couple

Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy, Image Courtesy : Time Magazine

Declaring that they are a couple, Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy and Advocate Arundhati Katju, who played a pivotal role in the decriminalization of homosexuality by the Supreme Court of India, talked about how the verdict impacted them personally as well.

In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, they opened up that they were indeed a couple and that the victory was not just a professional triumph but also personal.

The host Zakaria asked if the case was much more personal to them as the two were not just partners in court but also a couple.

In response, both Guruswamy and Katju agreed and said "Sure. That's right".

"The loss in 2013 was a loss as lawyers, a loss as citizens. It was a personal loss," said Guruswamy, referring to the December 2013 judgment of the SC which restored Section 377 IPC to the book by overturning the 2009 verdict of Delhi High Court striking down the colonial provision.

"It is not nice to be a 'criminal' who has to go back to court as a lawyer to argue other cases," she added.

"We had a court where we practiced as lawyers ... and this court had just told us that gay people were second class citizens", said Katju, who added that it was very difficult.

Guruswamy and Katju had received global recognition for their fight against criminalization of homosexuality with the Time Magazine adding them in list of 100 influential persons.

"Arundhati and Menaka have helped take a giant step for LGBTQ+ rights in the world's largest democracy. In their committed fight for justice, they have shown us that we as a society must continue to make progress, even after laws are changed, and that we must make an effort to understand, accept and love", wrote actor Priyanka Chopra about them in the Time.

Menaka Guruswamy, who was designated as Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court in March 2019, is a 1997 graduate of National Law School of India University, Bangalore. She read law as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Law (D. Phil.) and as a Gammon fellow for a Masters in Law at Harvard Law School.

She has worked as a human rights consultant to the United Nations and has taught at the New York University School of Law. In the Navtej Johar case which decriminalised homosexuality, Guruswamy represented IIT students and graduates who belong to the LGBTQIA community. She had also assisted the SC as amicus in the Manipur extra-judicial killings case. She has the rare honor of having her portrait unveiled at Rhodes House in Oxford University. Her name was included in the Forbes list of 2019 trailblazers.

Arundhati holds a BA LLB (Hons.) degree from the National Law School of India University, and an LLM from Columbia Law School, where she was a Human Rights Fellow, James Kent Scholar, and Public Interest Honoree. She has taught white collar crime law at the National Law University, Delhi, and worked with India's National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to draft the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

Arundhati was also a public defender with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee, India's top legal aid program, for over three years. In this role, she argued nearly 100 appellate cases before the Delhi High Court. Her pro bono work includes representing child sexual abuse survivors in cases against their abusers.