SC hearing on Sec 377 Highlights: Proceedings end for the day, will resume on Tuesday

Supreme Court hearing on Section 377 Highlights: The Centre on Tuesday said it would not contest the petitions and left the decision to the "wisdom" of the court.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 13, 2018 8:59:55 am
SC hearing on Section 377: Supreme Court hearing on Section 377 Highlights: The top court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the validition of Section 377 on the IPC. (Express Photo/Ravi Kanojia)

The Supreme Court on Thursday resumed hearing a batch of petitions challenging the validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalises homosexuality. The Supreme Court observed that homosexuality was not an aberration but a variation and that once Section 377 was decriminalised, the stigma attached to the community would also go.

The Supreme Court also reflected on the trauma that the LGBTQ community has to face and the lack of medical facilities as well. A five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, is hearing the matter.

Also read | Section 377: When two ministries took opposite stands

Live Blog

The Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging Section 377 of the IPC that criminalises homosexuality. Here are highlights from the court.

16:10 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Here are the key observations of the Supreme Court on gay rights on Day 3

From stigma and discrimination attached to the LGBTQ community to lack of medical facilities, here is a roundup of what transpired during the third day of the Supreme Court hearing into the petitions seeking decriminalisation of 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC.  On Day 3, key observations on LGBTQ rights. 

15:54 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Supreme Court concludes hearing on Section 377 for the day, will resume on Tuesday

Senior advocate Manoj George, who is appearing for two Christian associations supporting Section 377, opposed the demand to declare the provision unconstitutional, saying the government had made a U-turn. Taking exception, Justice A M Khanwilkar says, "It’s not a U-turn. Why can’t you see it as a development of the law. After that Puttyswamy judgment has come." With this, the Supreme Court concludes hearing on Section 377 for the day. The apex court will resume hearing the petitions against Section 377 on July 17.

14:48 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
We don’t decide Constitutional issues by referendum, says CJI

A lawyer opposing scrapping of Section 377 says the Centre should have elicited views of medical experts and public before assisting the court. “We don’t decide Constitutional issues by referendum...We will follow Constitutional morality,” CJI Dipak Misra says.

14:40 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Section 377 impinges on freedom of speech of homosexuals, says petitioners' advocate

The Constitutional bench resumes hearing to the batch of petitions challenging the validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalises homosexuality. Senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for a petitioner, says that Section 377 prevents homosexuals from making public their sexual orientation and thereby impinges on their freedom of speech and expression. 'When someone is unable to express their identity, it also affects their freedom of conscience,' Venugopal says.

14:04 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
What the Centre said yesterday

The Centre, which had previously sought more time to file its reply on the petitions, on Wednesday said it would not contest those challenging the validity of Section 377 and left it to the wisdom of the court. The affidavit, filed by the Union Home Ministry, read: “I state and submit that so far as the constitutional validity (of) Section 377 to the extent it applies to ‘consensual acts of adults in private’ is concerned, the Union of India would leave the said question to the wisdom of this Hon’ble Court.”

Also read | When two ministries took opposite stands

13:16 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Bench rises for lunch

The bench has risen for lunch and will resume at 2 pm. While we wait, here's a look at a map of the countries where homosexuality is legal and where it is a crime.

India is one of 72 countries in which homosexuality is a criminal offence, according to an international count last updated in October 2017. Eight countries provide for the death sentence, while five more countries technically have that provision — under interpretation of the Sharia — but are not known to have invoked the provision, according to a map and report by ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association), a worldwide federation of 1,200 member organisations from 132 countries.

12:57 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Explained: What is Section 377?

Section 377 of the IPC was introduced by the British in 1861. It criminalises sexual activities against the "order of nature" and the ambit of this law extends to any sexual union involving penile insertion. The law reads: "Whoever voluntarily has carnal inter­course against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with impris­onment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Watch this quick explainer below:

12:51 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Petitioner says homosexuality was prevalent in ancient India

Advocate Ashok Desai appearing for a petitioner traces the history of homosexuality and says it was prevalent in Ancient Greece and was accepted in ancient India.

12:50 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Petitioner seeks prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation

Appearing for a medical practitioner, Senior Advocate C U Singh credits the govt for going ahead with Mental Healthcare Act. He seeks a declaration from the court prohibiting all sorts of discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

12:48 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Justice Chandrachud refers to Mental Healthcare Act

Justice D Y Chandrachud, referring to Section 21A of the Mental Healthcare Act which says “there shall be no discrimination on any basis including gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion, culture, caste, social or political beliefs, class or disability”, says Parliament recognises that there should not be any discrimination on basis of sexual orientation.

12:47 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
Justice Malhotra: 'Homosexuality not an aberration but a variation'

Justice Indu Malhotra, the only woman judge on the bench, observes that being homosexual is not an aberration but a variance. She says there are other species which indulge in same-sex relations as well. Stating that members of the LGBTQ community do not get proper medical treatment due to inhibitions, she adds, 'Homosexuals don’t disclose there sexuality & due to family pressure etc get into marriages. Then frustration etc leads to bisexuality. And what about the trauma of off springs who come to know one parent is homosexual.'

12:43 (IST) 12 Jul 2018

A day after the Centre said it would not contest the petitions challenging Section 377, Divan says this is an opportune moment for the court to issue additional declarations apart from striking down the provision, reports Bar & Bench.

12:41 (IST) 12 Jul 2018
SC hearing on Section 377 Day 3

The Supreme Court resumed hearing petitions challenging the validity of Section 377 of the IPC this morning. Petitioners seek decriminalisation of homosexuality as it violates fundamental rights guaranteed under Part-III of Constitution. In court this morning, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan sought declaration under Article 14 that no one will be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation.

In the last two days of the hearing regarding the validity of Section 377, the petitioners have argued that the provision — intercourse against the order of nature — is an outcome of Victorian morality and should be struck down as values change along with society. The court is only hearing the issue of gay sex and not that of marriage in the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community or inheritance in live-in relationships. Read highlights from the first two days of the hearing here.