Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Centre leaves it to Supreme Court to decide on Section 377

Centre leaves it to Supreme Court to decide on Section 377

"It will not be adjourned", the bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said.

The Indian supreme court has started a key hearing on homosexuality in the country - with celebrities set to speak about how a 1861 law banning gay sex has blighted their lives.

CJI Dipak Misra, in early 2018 made a decision to pull-out petitions filed over two years ago by renowned dancer Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia, historian Aman Nath and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur. These two pleas came just six days after hotelier Keshav Suri, filed a plea in this regard in the top court.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday commenced the crucial hearing on a clutch of petitions seeking decriminalisation of consensual sex between two adults of the same gender.

The court said it will examine if the fundamental right to life includes sexual freedom. 20 of them had written their personal encounters, the key highlights of which pointed to one factor- discrimination based on their sexual orientation. "Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform".

The gay community was emboldened previous year when the SC referred explicitly to the issue in a landmark ruling upholding the right to privacy.

"Their rights are not "so-called" but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine". They dwell in privacy and dignity.

He further added that the government must consider a 7 or 9 judge bench instead of the constitution bench. What is the order of nature that can change with the passage of time. "Those are individual issues we can not pre-judge now", Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said. The provisions of Section 377 IPC will continue to govern non-consensual penile non-vaginal sex and penile non-vaginal sex involving minors.

"What is the order of nature in 1860 can't be the order of nature today". Social morality also changes from age to age.

In the judgement on privacy as a fundamental right, the apex court's nine-judge bench had said the right to privacy can not be denied to members of the LGBT community merely because they have unconventional sexual orientation and form a miniscule fraction of the over 1.32 billion Indian population.

LGBT+ activists are hopeful that the supreme court will decriminalise gay sex following the hearing. On their dismissal, curative petitions were filed by the affected parties seeking re-examination of the original verdict.

Globally 72 countries criminalise same-sex relationships, according to a 2017 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. He said "pre-constitutional law like section 377" will have to go as it does not conform to the Constitution. We are examining whether the relationship between two consenting adults is itself a manifestation of Article 21.

Like this: