Centre leaves validity of Section 377 on 'wisdom' of Supreme Court

11 July 2018, 01:03 PM
Section 377: We leave it on the wisdom of the Supreme Court, says Centre
Section 377: We leave it on the wisdom of the Supreme Court, says Centre

Days after seeking the Supreme Court to defer the hearing on Section 377, that makes homosexuality and consensual gay sex a crime, the Centre on Wednesday said that the apex court was free to decide constitutional validity of the a British-era law.

In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the central government said, “We leave it to the wisdom of the court.”

The Centre, however, urged the court not to deal with issues like gay marriages, property and inheritance rights, saying it will have many repercussions.

Earlier on Tuesday, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra commenced hearing on a bunch of pleas challenging the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Centre had opposed the hearing and demanded more time from the apex court to file its reply. However, the apex court refused the government’s plea and went ahead with the hearing.

Section 377 of the IPC refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and makes carnal intercourse “against the order of nature” with any man, woman or animal, a punishable offence. Those found guilty of violating the law shall be punished with imprisonment for life or up to 10 years and a fine.

Also Read | Section 377: All about the law that makes homosexuality a criminal offence

In 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised homosexuality among consenting adults, terming Section 377 “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

In 2013, several religious groups appealed against the Delhi HC verdict and the apex court reinstated Section 377. Several groups fighting for the rights of LGBT community, including NGA Naz Foundation, had appealed the court to re-examine its original verdict.

The petitioners claimed that Section 377 was violating their “rights to sexuality, sexual autonomy, choice of sexual partner, life, privacy, dignity, and equality, along with the other fundamental rights guaranteed under Part-III of Constitution.” 

First Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 12:36 PM
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