Live Updates

New Delhi: The Supreme Court, in a welcome move, on Thursday struck down the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalised homosexuality. A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, Rohinton Fali Nariman, A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, issued the verdict on a bunch of petitions filed to scrap the law. The bench had earlier reserved its verdict on July 17. (Also read: AIMPLB Says Homosexuality Injurious to Health)

The issue has been festering since 2009, when the Delhi High Court had decriminalised consensual sex between adults but a two-judge bench, set it aside in December 2013, upholding the criminalisation of gay sex while virtually denying the LGBTQ community the right to sexuality, sexual orientation and choice of partner. Then, in August 2017, the fight got a boost when a nine-judge Bench of the apex court, led by the then Chief Justice JS Khehar, upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right. This Bench ripped apart the December 2013 judgment. The nine-judge Bench underlined the impact of Section 377, saying it “poses a grave danger to the unhindered fulfilment of one’s sexual orientation, as an element of privacy and dignity.” The two judgments became the pillars on which the petitioners based their case before the Constitution Bench.

This year, in July 2018, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra re-opened the issue, saying a section of people could not live in fear of the law. The apex court heard the writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs. They have sought decriminalisation of consensual sex between two consenting adults of the same sex by declaring section 377 of IPC as illegal and unconstitutional. On July 17, the five-judge bench comprising, apart from Misra, Justices DY Chandrachud, Rohinton Fali Nariman, AM Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, had asserted that it will not wait for a “majoritarian government” to decide on enacting, amending or striking down a law that tends to violate the fundamental rights.