SC rejects Centre’s plea to adjourn hearing on Section 377

Lester Mason
July 11, 2018

Section 377 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 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

The court will also hear numerous petitions arguing for gay sex between consenting adults to be legalised, reports the Guardian.

Today's hearing began with senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for dancer Navtej Jauhar, one of the petitioners, telling the court that the right to have sexual freedom should be examined in view of the nine-judge bench verdict on privacy which was delivered on August 24, 2017.

The High Court of Delhi struck the law down in 2009 only to have that decision overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013.

At a time when countries across the world are adopting more and more progressive and inclusive legislation, such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage, India's refusal - on the basis of an outdated "moral" framework - to decriminalise consensual sexual acts and relationships between adults is a blot on the republic. Section 377 IPC denies LGBT persons their rights to full personhood, sexuality, sexual autonomy, and choice of sexual partner, which are implicit in the notion of life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

"The law doesn't affect only the gay community", he told AFP". The court will likely resume the hearing on Wednesday.

Britain itself made gay sex legal in 1967.

When the supreme court overturned the ruling, they could hardly go back into the closet, he said. "We got calls from parents, concerned about what would happen to their children". Our helpline was deluged. "We had to keep going and keep pushing", said Kavi.

The gay community was emboldened past year when the SC referred explicitly to the issue in a landmark ruling upholding the right to privacy. "In fact it violates the fundamental right of every Indian".

This, said the supreme court lawyer Suraj Sanap, who represents some of the petitioners, means the path has been cleared for a ruling legalising gay sex. Sanap said the privacy ruling was effectively a major development in jurisprudence which laid the ground for what gay people and activists are hoping will be a ruling decriminalising gay sex. A year ago marked the 50th anniversary of the United Kingdom repealing this odious law.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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