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Fresh pleas in SC to decriminalise consensual gay sex

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A fresh batch of six petitions have been moved in the Supreme Court seeking to strike down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises unnatural sex, including carnal intercourse between consenting adults of the same gender.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said it will hear the batch of pleas, including one filed by Mumbai-based NGO Humsafar trust which fights for the LGBTQ rights, on May 1.

The apex court had on April 23 sought the reply of the Centre on a hotelier's plea for striking down Section 377. It has sought the 'right to choice of sexual orientation' to be declared as part of the fundamental Right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. LGBTQ are the initials for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

The bench had ordered tagging of the hotelier's petition with other similar pleas which have already been referred by the apex court to a constitution bench on January 8.

Section 377 of the IPC refers to 'unnatural offences' and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse 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 ten years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

While agreeing to reconsider its 2013 verdict criminalising gay sex, the apex court had on January 8 said the section of people or individuals who exercise their choice should never "remain in a state of fear".

It had also said the determination of the order of nature is not a constant phenomenon as social morality changes from age to age.

The apex court is already seized of similar pleas filed by celebrities like dancer N S Johar, chef Ritu Dalmia and another hotelier Aman Nath challenging the validity of section 377 criminalising the consensual gay sex.

The Delhi High Court, on July 2, 2009, had legalised homosexual acts among consenting adults holding that the 149-year-old law making it a criminal offence is violative of the fundamental rights and making it not punishable.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 27 2018. 20:40 IST
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