Supreme Court to review Section 377, which criminalises homosexuality

New Delhi , Jan 8: A three-judge bench of Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, on Monday said it would reconsider Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises homosexuality.

The matter will now be referred to a larger bench to reexamine the Constitutional validity of Section 377.

Earlier in 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised Section 377, but the order was later set aside by a Supreme-Court bench.

The controversial Section 377 bans sexual activity that is ‘against the order of nature’.

What is Section 377?

Section 377: Unnatural offences: 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 ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Timeline 

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code dates back to 1861, It was first introduced during the British India. The section criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature”- which includes homosexual sexual activities. Many gay rights groups have been voicing protest for a complete amendment of the section.

In July 2009, the section was decriminalized with respect to sex between consenting adults by the Delhi High Court.

But the judgement was overturned by the Supreme Court of India on 11 December 2013.

It also observed that amending or repealing Section 377 should be a matter left to Parliament, not the judiciary.

On 6 February 2016, during the final hearing of a curative petition submitted by the Naz Foundation the three-member bench headed by then the Chief Justice of India TS Thakur of Supreme Court said all 8 curative petitions submitted will be reviewed afresh by a five-member constitutional bench.

(input from ANI)

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