Supreme Court of India said that consensual adult gay sex is not a crime. It is one of the world’s oldest laws criminalizing gay sex, and India has been reluctant to overturn it. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its verdict on July 17 after hearing various stakeholders for four days, including les*ians & gay rights activists.
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Supreme Court Decriminalize Homosexuality
- Section 377 criminalizes sexual intercourse that is penile and non-vaginal, deeming it “against the order of nature”. This affects the rights of the le*bian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population, in particular, but its provisions can also be applied to heterosexual citizens.
- The section came into force in 1861 during the British rule of India which criminalized sexual activities “against the order of nature”, including homosexual activities.
- Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, will be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for 10 years, and also be liable to pay a fine.
- In 2001, the issue of Section 377 was first raised by an NGO, Naz Foundation, and AIDS Bedhbhav Virodh Andolan, in the Delhi high court. Both the petitions were dismissed in the court.
- Eight years later, the Delhi High Court decriminalized consensual gay sex but the top court had cancelled the order four years later, ruling that only parliament should be changing laws.
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