Gay sex not legal, says Supreme Court

Gay sex not legal, says Supreme Court

A judgment which was reserved for nearly an year and nine months has finally been pronounced by a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya, setting aside Delhi High Court judgment which had decriminalized gay sex among consenting adults in private.

This landmark verdict is coincidentally the last one to be pronounced by Justice Singhvi, who retires today. The Supreme Court bench had reserved the judgment on March 27 last year on a bunch of petitions, after hearing arguments on a day-to-day basis for over a month. The apex court bench delivered the verdict on petitions of anti-gay right activists, social and religious organizations against the 2009 verdict of the high court which decriminalized gay sex.

The apex court while pronouncing the verdict said that it is for legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC. It however allowed appeals filed by various social and religious organizations for making gay sex a criminal offence. There is no constitutional infirmity in section 377 of IPC which makes gay sex an offence punishable with up to life imprisonment. The apex court while hearing the appeal had expressed disappointment over the Parliament not discussing such important issues and blaming judiciary instead for its overreach. It also criticized the Centre for its non-serious approach on decriminalization of homosexuality.

The Centre who had pleaded for decriminalization of gay sex had told the court that British colonialism was the reason for the emergence of the anti-gay law in the country and the Indian society was much more liberal towards homosexuality. On July 2, in 2009, gay sex was decriminalized by the Delhi High Court, as provided in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and had ruled that sex between two consenting adults in private would not be an offence.


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