SC To Review The Validity Of Section 377 of IPC Which Selectively Criminalises 'Love'

| January 8 , 2018 , 16:59 IST

The Supreme Court of India on Monday raised the hopes of many by agreeing to review section 377 of the Indian Penal Court, reviewing its 2013 decision where a two-judge bench had set aside the 2009 verdict of Delhi High Court that decriminalized homosexuality thus validating the British-era law that criminalises sexual activities "against the order of nature".

The bench of Justice GS Singhvi and SK Mukhopdhaya had observed that since only the issue affected a minuscule fraction of the country’s population, it was not sound enough basis to strike down a penal provision on grounds of discrimination.

After the Supreme Court’s historic privacy judgment in August, activists made a strong case for the rights of sexual minorities.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said the apex court’s 2013 judgment upholding the validity of Section 377 appears to hurt the sexual preferences of individuals.

Referring the petition to quash Section 377, the bench said that a section of people cannot live in fear of the law which atrophies their right to choice and natural sexual inclinations. It said societal morality changes with time and law should walk and change pace with life.

The bench bench took into account views expressed in the historic judgement of the Apex Court that gave the right to privacy the status of a fundamental right.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had brought the Indian Penal Code (Amendment) Bill last year seeking changes in Section 377 of IPC (unnatural offence) but it was defeated in the Lok Sabha. 

“Section 377 is not only about sex but about fundamental constitutional principles - equality before the law, privacy, dignity, non-discrimination” Tharoor had said.