The man has been released from prison following the ruling in Mumbai’s high court after serving six years and nine months of his sentence for repeatedly stabbing to death another man.
The judges found the 35 year-old man guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, as opposed to his original murder conviction after he said he killed his friend, a butcher, because he assaulted him and forced him into “unnatural sex.”
In their statement to the court, the Justices said: “We are of the considered view that the explanation, as given by the (accused), is plausible.
“If a person is asked to indulge in unnatural sex and assaulted, it is quite probable such a person in heat of passion would assault the person demanding such [an] unnatural act.
“We find that the sentence undergone by the (accused) would serve the ends of justice.”
Public prosecutor argued against this gay panic defence stating that the multiple stab wounds inflicted on the butcher’s body showed an intent to kill.
However, the judge ruled in favour of the accused, saying: “We are of the considered view that the (accused) is entitled to the benefit of [the] doubt.”
This defence tactic has been used on countless occasions to pardon the killing of a member of the LGBT+ community.
A ‘gay panic’ defence claims that individuals are not in control of their violent acts due to the psychological panic they experience when in contact with LGBT+ people. Although the defence tactic is usually unsuccessful, it allows states to endorse homophobic and transphobic bias.
In the United States, the use of trans and gay panic defences is currently legal in 47 states with California, Illinois and Rhode Island the only states to have passed laws banning its use.
Eight other states have introduced legislation to ban. If the proposed legislation passes, it will not apply in state-level criminal cases. Advocates are hopeful that the federal law would influence states to pass their own anti-panic laws.
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