The petition says that the couple managed to live together for more than 20 years with the support of family and friends. It also said that though Mehra had been targeted at times for being gay, he never reported it to the police for fear of being targeted under 377. Still, because of class privilege, Mehra and Johar were unlikely to face the kind of blackmail or extortion other LGBT men and women encounter in India, and could likely have continued on with their lives fairly peacefully. They could have rejected the idea broached by lawyers Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju that they bring a new, more personal plea before the top court, grounded in their constitutional rights as Indian citizens. Instead, they decided to put their own lives on hold, and petition the court to declare 377 unconstitutional. Others, including prominent restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath, and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur, also stepped forward (paywall).

Mehra puts their decision like this, in an interview with the Guardian:

We have been OK. I am 63—we have lived our lives. We had fought for our bit of sun and we found it. It was more for all those who didn’t have our class privileges, education, intellect, money and connections to insulate them. It was so that these other lives could be lived in the sun, rather than in burrowed, dark spaces.

It was a message Guruswamy echoed in July before the court, where she was representing a group of LGBT students whose case had been linked to Johar and Mehra’s. She recounted the history of the couple’s relationship, and told the court the case was not about sex, but about love, and most of all, about the future.

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