Section 377 verdict by Supreme Court today: 5 key things to know

Section 377 verdict by Supreme Court today: 5 key things to know

The SC will decide whether the section criminalising consensual gay sex is valid or not on Thursday.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its verdict on July 17 after hearing various stakeholders, including gay rights activists. The Court expressed that it will examine whether its is permissible under Constitutional morality to criminalize sexual acts performed by consenting adults.

Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi, Aravind Datar, Shyam Divan, CU Singh, Anand Grover and Advocates Menaka Guruswamy, Saurabh Kirpal and Jayna Kothari argued for various petitioners and intervenors.

The apex court has heard the writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs. "You can not impose your sexual orientation on others without their consent", the top court had said while allaying apprehensions of those opposed to the decriminalisation of the penal provision.

The four-day long marathon hearing had witnessed engaging submissions by a battery of lawyers.

The issue of section 377 was first raised by an NGO, Naaz Foundation, which had in 2001 approached the Delhi High Court that had decriminalised sex between consenting adults of the same gender by holding the penal provision "illegal". Section 377 of the IPC was modeled on a 16th century law, called the Buggery Act.

Section 377 directly goes against Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees a right to life and liberty for all individuals.

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Equal rights campaigners have also argued that the very existence of such a law is proof of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court had ruled in favour of decriminalising section 377 - a decision which was overturned only to by a two-judge Supreme Court bench in 2013, in the Suresh Kumar Koushal versus Naz Foundation case.

Justice Chandrachud rejecting the contention had said that the cause of the sexually transmitted diseases was not sexual intercourse but unprotected sex.

"This may encourage other forms of sexual perversions such as incest, and relationships within the "prohibited degrees" and between "sapindas" which are restricted under the Hindu Marriage Act (of 1955)...one may say that his choice of sexual partner is his sister...", iterated Mr. Mehta, requesting a clarification of the judgment in Shafin Jahan v. UOI in this respect.

The HC held that the Section 377 denied dignity to an individual and criminalised their core identity on the basis of their sexuality adding that it also violated Article 14 by targeting homosexuals as a class.

"Certain sections of our society have been living in shackles of exclusion".

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