New Delhi, July 9: The Supreme Court on Monday reprimanded the Centre for its delay in filing the response on PILs challenging the re-criminalisation of consensual carnal sex between two adults (Section 377 of the IPC), and refused to adjourn the hearing scheduled tomorrow. Also Read - Vikas Dubey Encounter: Supreme Court Asks Uttar Pradesh Government to File Status Report
The top court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to defer the hearing after the Centre sought more time to file its response on petitions against gay sex. Also Read - A Muslim Homosexual Character in a Popular Series: Meet Vikas Kumar, Aarya's ACP Khan Who's Breaking The Stereotype | Interview
“It will not be adjourned,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khawilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said. Also Read - Homophobia: Russian Politician Alerts President Putin Against Rainbow Ice Cream Allegedly Promoting Homosexuality, Matter to be Investigated
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 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 newly re-constituted five-judge constitution bench is scheduled to commence hearing of four crucial matters, including the issue of sexual relationship between persons of same sex, from tomorrow.
The Supreme Court had in 2013 restored sexual relationship between persons of same sex as a criminal offence.
After the apex court had set aside the Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgement decriminalising sex between consenting adults of same sex by holding as “illegal” Section 377 of IPC, review petitions were filed, and on their dismissal curative petitions were filed by the affected parties for re-examination of the original verdict.
During the pendency of the curative petitions, the plea was made that an open court hearing should be granted and after the apex court agreed to it, several fresh writ petitions were filed seeking decriminalising of Section 377.
The new five-judge bench will be headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and would comprise justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
(With PTI inputs)