In a boost for the LGBT community, the Supreme Court (SC) has decided to revisit its earlier verdict on Section 377 which criminalises homosexuality and has referred a plea seeking its decriminalisation to a larger bench.
Reopening the debate on Indian Penal Code’s Article 377, the three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by CJI Dipak Misra said, “it would reconsider and examine the Constitutional validity of section 377.”
The SC also issued a notice to the Centre seeking response on a writ petition filed by five members of LGBT community, who say they live in fear of Police because of their natural sexual preferences.
In august 2017, the landmark judgment on the right to privacy by a nine-judge bench of SC had criticised an earlier judgment of the apex court which reinstated the Section 377 that declares homosexuality unnatural and a legal offence.
The judgment called the previous judgment in the Suresh Kumar Koushal vs Naz foundation case a “discordant note” which directly bears upon the evolution of the constitutional jurisprudence on the right to privacy.
In the 2013 judgment, the two judge bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya had argued that in 150 years, less than 200 persons had been prosecuted under Article 377.
The judgment that overturned a 2009 judgment by Delhi High Court that decriminalised homosexual acts also said “plight of sexual minorities” cannot be applied blindfolded for deciding the constitutionality of the law enacted by the Indian legislature.