SC Reopens Homosexuality Debate; Refers Petitions Against Section 377 To 5-Judge Bench

The Supreme Court on February 2 reopened the debate over a ban on homosexuality, referring the petition against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to a five-judge bench.

Hearing eight curative petitions (the last legal resort) filed by gay activists, with NGO Naz Foundation amongst others, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said, “Does anyone actually oppose it?”

The bench added that the case involves important constitutional issues.



Section 377, which came in force in 1862, states:

“Whoever voluntarily has carnal inter¬course against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

In 2009, Delhi High Court decriminalised consensual homosexual acts in private, saying “the section denies a gay person a right to full personhood…”

However, in 2013, the apex court reversed the verdict and uphold the validity of Section 377.

It further asked the Parliament to take decision on the same, saying it was for the legislature to take a call on the desirability of the controversial provision.

The petitions said that a lot has changed between that period. Many men and women disclosed their identities after 2009 verdict and were now facing the threat of being prosecuted.


Gay rights activists during a protest in New Delhi HT

Gay rights activists during a protest in New Delhi

The recent decision by Supreme Court has given a ray of hope to LGBT community.








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