Supreme Court to Re-Examine the 2013 Verdict on Gay Sex


A 5-judge bench of Supreme Court has started hearing pleas against Sec 377 from today. This section of Indian Penal Code criminalizes gay sex and prescribes a life term in jail for the same. The hearing for today has been concluded and will resume on Wednesday.

The apex court is hearing pleas against Sec 377, it has said that it will only examine the correctness of its 2013 verdict in which it canceled the Delhi High Court judgment that regarded criminalizing gay sex as “unconstitutional”.  Later, the court found that many petitions challenging the verdict started piling up. That’s when it decided to have a re-look into the matter, citing “changing morality”.

The five-judge bench is headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and other Justices including RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra. The Centre had requested more time to file its response to the petitions but the top court rejected centre’s appeal for more time and refused to delay the hearings as the matter has been pending for a while.

As per Section 377 of IPC, sex “against the order of nature” draws a jail term and a fine. In 2009 the Delhi High Court had decriminalized gay sex but in 2013 the Supreme Court canceled it and said that only the parliament can scrap or change laws.

However, last year, the LGBT community got a ray of hope when the apex court gave a landmark judgment on Right to Privacy. In January a Supreme Court Bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra referred the petitions against SEC 377 to a larger bench saying that “what comes natural to one may not be natural to the other”. The court had said that law cannot “trample or curtail” the constitutional right to life and liberty.