Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India itself and 4 other judges had reserved their judgment on Section 377 which criminalize consensual gay sex. The decision was reserved by the constitutional bench after hearing for four days on the matter in the month of July. Section 377 has continuously received opposition from certain sections of the society including few human rights groups.
Section 377 dates all the way back to 1860 when Britishers brought Indian Penal Code to India to cover all aspects of crime. Many human rights activists pleas that it is a draconian act and is also based on two centuries old mindset. Even Britain itself legalized consensual gay sex. Thus India also needs to rethink over Section 377 now more than ever.
Many cases of misuse of Section 377 are also reported where few policemen torture citizens under the protection of this law. Current Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram Mr. Shashi Tharoor also tried to introduce a Bill in Parliament to revoke this section but it was not accepted by other members.
UPDATE- Section 377 Verdict:
12:00 PM– All the five judges have signed and laid Section 377 to rest. Consensual sex between two people of the same gender gets recognition. All other types of intercourse that are ‘against natural order’ are still illegal.
Reactions on #Section377 getting struck down:
Homosexuality has been decriminalised in India, and the significance of this cannot be understated. Today one fifth of the world's population has been (rightfully) told that consensual, gay sex is not a crime. Huge. #Section377
— Matthew Wade (@MatthewRWade) September 6, 2018
Take me as I am says the Chief Justice pronouncing his order on #Section377 . Is this the most beautiful, romantic judgdement ever delivered 🙂
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) September 6, 2018
Apex court already said that it is its Constitutional duty to strike down such a law that interferes with basic rights of a citizen. Supreme court has been given the power to check the validity of all the laws that are enforced in India and it may also strike such laws down if the need arises.
The constitutional bench today said:
Tragedy and anguish inflicted by Section 377 should be remedied. Macaulay’s legacy exists 68 years after the coming of a liberal Constitution. Human instinct to love has been constrained. Sexual orientation has become a reason for blackmail on the internet.
Earlier they came out and confirmed:
“The moment we are convinced that a law is violative of the fundamental rights, we will strike it down and not relegate it to legislature.”
Section 377 prohibits people from indulging in intercourse that is against the “order of nature” and violators can be punished with upto 10 years of jail time and fine. Pleas that were filed in Supreme court has asked to strike down Section 377 and declare it illegal and unconstitutional.
Naaz Foundation, first raised the issue of decriminalizing Section 377 in 2001 when it approached Delhi High court which declared it illegal and decriminalized gay sex. Later in 2013, apex court overturned the decision of Delhi High Court. The decision that Apex Court will deliver today will be historic if it strikes it down again. It will also be written along with some of the landmark verdicts in the country. Deepak Misra, who is about to retire next month from the post of Cheif Justice of India, will be delivering the verdict today.