SC refuses to hear plea on section 377, refers matter to CJI’s bench

Section 377 in Indian Penal Code (IPC) criminalises any 'unnatural' sexual contact by a person including acts of homosexuality.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: June 30, 2016 3:59 am
section 377, homosexuality, supreme court, gay sex, section 377 repeal, pil to repeal section 377, section 377 case supreme court Supreme Court of India. New Delhi . Express Photo By Amit Mehra 19-04-2010

The Supreme Court Wednesday declined to examine all over again a plea filed against validity of IPC Section 377, which makes homosexuality a criminal offence punishable with a sentence up to life term. The joint petition has been filed by some prominent gay personalities — celebrity chef and restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and dancer N S Johar, among others.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan directed that the petition be placed before the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to decide whether it can be heard along with a batch of curative petitions on the same subject.

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Senior advocate Arvind P Datar, appearing for the petitioners, had requested the bench to hear the plea afresh. “This is the first time people whose rights are affected by the penal provision have come to this court,” he argued. “All previous petitions had been filed by NGOs and other groups.”

But the bench replied: “It does not make any difference. We are not inclined to hear it since another bench is already examining it.” The court said the petitioners could wait until a five-judge bench decides a bunch of curative petitions filed against the court’s judgment in 2013 on the matter. “You can wait for a decision in those matters and then decide what to do,” the bench said. “We will keep it (petition) pending till a decision is reached by the curative bench.”

Datar requested the bench to allow the petitioners to be heard by the five-judge bench when the curative petitions are taken up. However, the court said it is for the CJI to decide whether this petition should be heard along with the pending petitions, in which orders on the main judgment and review are already delivered.

In January, a bench led by CJI T S Thakur had agreed to hear in open court the bunch of curative petitions of LGBT community rights activists and groups, challenging the verdict criminalising homosexuality. A curative petition is the last judicial resort available to redress grievances in court. It is normally decided by judges in chamber, but in this case the court has agreed to grant an open-court hearing.

The petitioners contended that there was an error in the main judgment, as it was based on an old law and failed to consider various changes in law. The new petition has sought protection of their sexual rights on the ground that it is an integral part of the fundamental right to life. Stating that the petitioners are “highly accomplished professionals”, the plea says, “Despite their achievements and contributions…they are being denied the right to sexuality, the most basic and inherent of fundamental rights. Section 377 renders them criminals in their own country.”

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First Published on: June 30, 2016 12:30 am
  1. V
    Vijayan
    Jun 29, 2016 at 8:49 am
    Further the Supreme CORRUPT of India which comes directly under the authority of intelligence agencies has pronounced that THE CHILD PROS-TI-TUTION RUN BY THE GOVT OF GOA IS TOTALLY LEGAL AND HAS RECOMMENDED THE GoI TO IMPLEMENT THAT SACRED BUSINESS ALL IVER INDIA. In fact SC HAS ORDERED INDIA TO TRANSFER COLOMBO's ADVANCED TEXHNOLOGY IN THAT NICHE BUSINESS. SALMAN KHAN AND ASIN ARE BEING ACCOMPANIED BY M K NARAYANAN FOR TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER FROM COLOMBO.
    Reply
    1. V
      Vijayan
      Jun 29, 2016 at 8:44 am
      Supreme CORRUPT of India has given special permission to MODI THAT HE IS THE ONLY MALE WHO CAN WALTZ WITH FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE. SC also commended MODI FOR USING AISHWARYA RAI TO SEDUCE HOLLANDE IN HIS BEHALF. Jeez... NAsty MOdi(NAMO).
      Reply
      1. S
        Saurabh
        Jun 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm
        No. But yours both father were definitely mental patients..
        Reply
        1. S
          Saurabh
          Jun 29, 2016 at 8:16 am
          Section 377 of IPC should remain valid. Homo people are actually mental patients.
          Reply
          1. V
            vijay
            Jun 30, 2016 at 4:05 am
            That is what Hitler said as he threw them in to the gas chambers.
            Reply
            1. B
              Basha Shaik
              Jul 1, 2016 at 6:02 am
              Well said Jai. you predicted perfectly. I think its high time to admit Saurabh into a mental hospital for his homophobic n sarcastic disorder
              Reply
              1. শৌনক বসু
                Jun 29, 2016 at 3:09 pm
                Not as much as you are, Cave man...
                Reply
                1. c
                  c.p.sujaya
                  Jun 30, 2016 at 5:59 am
                  There is a famous saying "the wheels of justice run slowly ........" So, it may take a long time for IPC section 377 to be erased forever from the Indian Law. It is true that it was the British rule over India that imposed this, on us, Indians. But, significantly, this law has been removed by the Brits long ago for themselves. But we, who were under the thumb of the British till 1947, are still debating and fighting over it!!! How tragic!
                  Reply
                  1. J
                    jai
                    Jun 29, 2016 at 11:41 am
                    hi abh! was your father a mental patient?
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      RSM
                      Jun 29, 2016 at 6:47 am
                      High time to break open the walls of orthodoxy and intolerance. Indians will be better citizens freed from the prison of prejudice; let us defenestrate the false morality that we have inherited not from our culture but from Victorian legacy. People need not be reminded that there is a monster of an Act lurking in the bed room to criminalize an act which is widely practiced otherwise.
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Ravi
                        Jun 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm
                        I wish Supreme Court should decriminalize LGBT stuff because males will be with males and females will be with females. No reproduction. End of Human race and then mother Nature ,all animals, birds and forests can forever live in peace.
                        Reply
                        1. R
                          Rufus D'Souza
                          Jun 29, 2016 at 7:32 am
                          Now that Mr. Modi has started stripping off his Hindutva face after his handshake with the Christian Americans, everything is possible!!!
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            SHIVA BHAT
                            Jun 29, 2016 at 9:59 am
                            You must be from AAP .So intelligent and mature comments.
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              Anand
                              Jul 1, 2016 at 7:34 am
                              Stupid headline, very misleading
                              Reply
                              1. V
                                Vilas Kulkarni
                                Jun 29, 2016 at 6:15 am
                                How can be old plea not examined and not decided yet
                                Reply
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