Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Consider transgender verdict while deciding curative plea: Gay rights activists to SC

Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Posted: April 21, 2014 7:15 pm

Gay rights activists on Monday appealed to the Supreme Court to take into account its recent verdict on granting separate recognition to transgenders while deciding their curative petition against its judgement criminalising homosexuality.

Appearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, senior advocate Anand Grover pleaded that it should consider the April 15 verdict recognising transgenders or eunuchs as third category of gender while taking a decision on curative plea which may be taken up Tuesday.

Curative petition is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court.

The petitioners, including NGO Naz Foundation which has been spearheading the legal battle on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, contended that there was an error in the judgement delivered on December 11 last year as it was based on an old law.

The apex court had earlier dismissed a batch of review petitions filed by the Centre and gay rights activists including noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal against its December 2013 verdict declaring gay sex an offence punishable up to life imprisonment.

The court had said it did not see any reason to interfere with the December 11, 2013 verdict and had also rejected the plea for oral hearing on the review petitions which are normally decided by judges in-chamber without giving an opportunity to parties to present their views.

The Supreme Court had on December 11, 2013 set aside the Delhi High Court judgement decriminalising gay sex and thrown the ball in Parliament’s court for amending the law.

The judgement revived the penal provision making gay sex an offence punishable with life imprisonment in a setback to people fighting a battle for recognition of their sexual preferences.

While setting aside the July 2, 2009 judgement of the Delhi High Court, the apex court had held that Section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of the IPC does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and that the declaration made by the high court is legally unsustainable.

Amid huge outrage against the judgement, the Centre had also filed a review petition in the apex court seeking relook to “avoid grave miscarriage of justice to thousands of LGBT” persons who have been aggrieved by the apex court judgement contending it is “unsustainable” as it “suffers from errors”.

The gay rights activists and organisations had said thousands from the LGBT community disclosed their sexual identity during the past four years after the high court decriminalised gay sex and they are now facing threat of being prosecuted.

They had submitted that criminalising gay sex amounts to violation of fundamental rights of the LGBT community.

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