Town Reacts to the S. 377 Verdict Decriminalising Homosexuality

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

Section 377 verdict LIVE: Full court reference delays judgment

The nine-judge Bench underlined the impact of Section 377, saying it "poses a grave danger to the unhindered fulfilment of one's sexual orientation, as an element of privacy and dignity".

In January this year, Supreme Court said a larger group of judges would re-consider the previous judgment (which reinforced criminalisation of homosexuality) and examine Section 377's constitutional validity. LGBT community has the same rights like other members of society.

"Social morality can not violate the rights of even one single individual", said CJI Misra and Justice Khanwilkar.

Gay sex is considered taboo by many in socially conservative India, and despite opposition to lifting the ban from some lawmakers, activists had hoped the ban would be lifted.

Calling sexual orientation a "part of freedom of expression", a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra declared that adult consensual sex, homosexual or heterosexual, will no longer be a crime under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The top court's verdict was previously set to be delivered on July 17, but on that day, it made a decision to reserve its verdict. "It is for us to strike it down the moment something violates fundamental rights", said back in July.

Replying to the argument Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said, "We don't settle constitutional issues by referendum".

"We are exclusively on consensual acts between man-man, man-woman". Twenty-four years later, the Supreme Court has indicated that it may do away with the criminality clause against consenting adults.

"We would not wait for the majoritarian government to enact, amend or not to enact any law to deal with violations of fundamental rights", the bench had said while reserving its verdict.

This decision was then appealed in the Supreme Court via a review petition, and the last known status was that of a pending curative petition.

Gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in jail under the 1861 law.

However, the issue resurrected in July 2016, when a fresh petition filed by well-known persons, including dancer N.S. Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur, was referred to Constitution Bench by a Division Bench headed by Justice Bobde.

Advocate Manoj George, appearing on behalf of two Christian associations, had also criticised the "U-turn" resorted to by the Centre in the present batch of petitions, considering its earlier stand in Suresh Kumar Kaushal.

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