India's Supreme Court will reconsider the nation's ban on gay sex

Marie Harrington
January 9, 2018

The Supreme Court today announced a review of the controversial ban on gay sex saying no one should have to live in fear due to their sexuality. "Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality".

Section 377 of IPC, came into force in 1862 - defines unnatural offences.

Section 377, modelled on a 16th-century British law, bans "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal", and is punishable by life imprisonment. The apex court has now made a decision to constitute a bench to review Section 377.

The U.S. Supreme Court left intact a MS law that lets businesses and government workers refuse on religious grounds to provide services to gay and transgender people.

Earlier in 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised Section 377, but the order was later set aside by a Supreme-Court bench. The three-judge bench took their knowledge views expressed in another judgment in August, which gave the right to privacy the status of a fundamental right.

The Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to a MS law Monday allowing government workers to refuse wedding-related services to LGBT couples on religious grounds.

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A conservative law firm that helped defend the law praised the Supreme Court for refusing to take up the challenge. Littrell says that now that the Supreme Court has declined to take up the case, she believes more LGBT individuals will be tangibly harmed by state officials, religious organizations and service providers. But lower courts, without ruling on the merits of the law, said those suing could not show that they would be harmed by it.

On Monday, a three-judge bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra made a decision to re-examine the constitutional validity of Section 377 and said the matter would be referred to a larger bench.

Elated over the decision, an LGBT Activist said,"We need to welcome it".

All India Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev also welcomed the top court's decision saying,"Everybody has equal right to live life the way they want".

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Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit organization that is part of the legal team representing Gov. Phil Bryant in the cases, argued that the MS law had been misinterpreted. "We think it appropriate to send this issue to a larger bench", they said.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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