Congress Member of Parliament (MP) Shashi Tharoor has said that he will introduce his private member’s bill to amend Section 377 again in the next parliamentary session. Mr. Tharoor, a Lok Sabha MP, had tried introducing a private member’s bill in the winter session which was rejected without any debate due to opposition from BJP MPs.
In a blog post in NDTV, Mr. Tharoor wrote: “I will resubmit the Bill in the next session, and try to get some support for it in advance, unlike last time.” He also said that he was surprised at the opposition that his bill had met from the BJP members, since Friday usually has a low attendance as many MP’s have already left for their constituency. “The introduction of a bill is fairly routine – it is only at the discussion stage that I had anticipated opposition,” he wrote.
Mr. Tharoor also said that the BJP is divided on the issue. “I believe the BJP is divided on the issue with some members, both senior and junior, in favour of decriminalization.” Quoting a 2014 study by the World Bank on The Economic Cost of Homophobia in India, Mr. Tharoor said homophobia costs India 0.1 to 1.7% of GDP and this price being paid for bigotry was too high for the nation. “This is not about sex but about freedom. Section 377 violates our constitutional rights of dignity, privacy, and equality,” he wrote.