Political parties welcome SC's decision to reconsider law criminalising homosexuality

Supreme Court refers PIL against law on adultery to a Constitution bench

Sajjad Hussain AFP

Section 377 criminalises sexual acts "against the order of nature" and has undergone many twists and turns ever since the Delhi High Court decriminalised it in 2009.

Three judges including Chief Justice Dipak Misra said a larger group of justices would reconsider the law following a petition filed by five people who say they are living in fear of being prosecuted.

The Supreme Court says it will not take up a challenge to a MS law that allows businesses and government officials to deny services to LGBT people if doing so would conflict with certain "sincerely held" religious beliefs. The court provided a big boost to the LGBT community by declaring that the 2014 order, which annulled a Delhi High Court verdict decriminalizing gay sex between consenting adults was gravely erroneous.

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With the apex court deciding to revisit its decision on Section 377 on Monday, there is a renewed hope among the members of the LGBT community.

Some religious conservatives are celebrating the Supreme Court's decision regarding the law, which was strongly supported by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.

Elated over the decision, an LGBT Activist said,"We need to welcome it".

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The plea seeking decriminalisation of homosexuality or gay sex between two consenting adults was referred to a larger bench by the apex court on Monday. "The time has come that either the courts must read down Section 377 or the government should repeal it from the IPC". The petitioners had told the court they were living in constant fear of police action due to their sexual orientation. "It has the potential to destroy individual choice and sexual orientation", adding that right to privacy means "I have a right to choose my sexual partner".

Salve was quoted by ANI as saying, " Section 377 is dead after the nine-judge bench which has said all these are dimensions of Right to Privacy.

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.

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Despite this setback for LGBTQ supporters, there are still many legal challenges waiting for the religious freedom law. A promising sign, the Court also asked the government to respond to a petition from five LGBTQ people who said they live in fear of police due to their identities. It also includes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. The petitioners said they live in constant fear of police action due to their sexual preferences.

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