SC refers plea regarding Section 377 to Constituition Bench

by Garry Watts January 9, 2018, 1:49
SC refers plea regarding Section 377 to Constituition Bench

The court on Monday said it would refer the question of the validity of section 377 of the Indian penal code to a larger bench for examination before October this year.

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.

The petitions argued the state law violated the First Amendment's establishment clause by endorsing religious opposition to same-sex couples and the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause by "bestowing legal privileges only on those individuals who subscribe to HB 1523's state-endorsed religious and moral beliefs". The law also provides that the state may not take discriminatory action against religious organizations related to their wedding, adoption, employment or health care practices. "Choice can't be allowed to cross boundaries of law but confines of law can't trample or curtail the inherent right embedded in an individual under Art 21 of Constitution", the bench observed. "Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality".

The petitioners who have filed the plea are Navtej Singh Johar, a Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-winning Bharatnatyam dancer, a senior journalist Sunil Mehra, a restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, and Aman Nath, founder of the Neemrana chain of hotels.

The Supreme Court on Monday paved way for a fresh round of debate on its stand on homosexuality as it agreed to revisit its 2013 ruling that had set aside a law framed in 1860 which decriminalized consensual sex among adult homosexual men.

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"We will keep fighting in MS until we overturn this harmful law, and in any state where anti-gay legislators pass laws to roll back LGBT civil rights", said Beth Littrell, a lawyer with gay rights group Lambda Legal.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was responding to a fresh petition brought by a group of five persons of the LGBT community. "A section of people or individuals who exercise their choice should never remain in a state of fear". The LGBTQ community remains in harm's way every single day that this law is in effect, and we are committed to working with our legal partners to strike this draconian measure once and for all.

Why Supreme Court canceled the Delhi high court order?

"Consent between two adults has to be primary". The apex court has now made a decision to constitute a bench to review Section 377.

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