Section 377: Supreme Court to begin hearing on gay sex law today

10 July 2018, 11:47 AM
Supreme Court to begin hearing on gay sex law from today
Supreme Court to begin hearing on gay sex law from today

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will start hearing pleas challenging a British-era law that makes homosexuality a crime. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will hear a bunch of pleas challenging the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The central government on Monday had sought more time to file its reply on the matter and asked the court to adjourn the hearing. However, the apex court refused the Centre's plea seeking to defer the hearing on Section 377.

In 2013, the apex court had set aside a 2009 judgment of the Delhi High Court that held the Section 377 of IPC as 'unconstitutional' and in restored sexual relationship between persons of the same sex as a criminal offence.

Several parties, including NGO Naz Foundation, parents of homosexual persons and Voices Against 377, a collective of human rights groups, has filed several petitions seeking the re-examination of the apex court verdict in 2013.

In January 2018, a bench headed by CJI Misra had referred the matter to a larger constitutional bench, saying the "social morality changes from age to age" and "what is natural to one may not be natural to the other".

The new five-judge bench will be headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and would comprise justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

What is Section 377

The 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.

 


First Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 08:15 AM
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