Section 377: SC to Pronounce Verdict on Decriminalisation of Homosexuality tomorrow

Bar & Bench September 5 2018
Section 377

The Supreme Court will be pronouncing its verdict on the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) tomorrow.

 

The hearing had commenced on July 10, 2018, before a Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chadrachud and Indu Malhotra and lasted for four days.

Introduced by the British during the colonial era, Section 377 penalises all sexual activities “against the order of nature“. Modeled on the then-existing English Buggery Act (1553), this provision effectively came to be used to criminalise sexual activity between homosexuals persons.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court read down Section 377 to decriminalise consensual sexual activity between adults in the Naz Foundation case. However,  in an appeal against the Delhi High court verdict, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court overturned this judgment in 2013 to reinstate sexual intercourse between homosexual persons as a criminal offence in the Suresh Kumar Koushal case.

Subsequently,  writ petitions came to be filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Constitutionality of the provision. This challenge was eventually referred to the above Constitution Bench. On July 17, 2018, the Bench reserved its judgment in the case.

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