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Section 377 verdict: A timeline of the case

Section 377: Here's a timeline of the case and the landmark judgements.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: September 7, 2018 1:20:17 am
Section 377 verdict: In a landmark decision in July 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality among consenting adults on grounds that it violated Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India. (Express photo/Tashi Tobgyal)

Section 377 of the Indian has been partially struck down Thursday by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, with the apex court legalising same sex relations between consenting adults. The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra gave four separate, but concurring judgments, that decriminalised sex between two consenting adults irrespective of their gender.

Here is a timeline of the case

2001: Naz Foundation, an NGO fighting for gay rights, files PIL in Delhi HC seeking legalisation of gay sex among consenting adults.

Sept 2004: HC dismisses PIL; Gay right activists file review petition.

Nov 3: HC dismisses review plea.

Dec: Gay rights activists approach SC against HC order.

Apr 3, 2006: SC sends case back to HC, directs it to reconsider the matter on merit.

Sept18, 2008: Centre seeks more time after home and health ministries take contradictory stands over decriminalisation of homosexuality. HC refuses plea.

Sept 26: The Centre says gay sex is immoral and a reflection of a perverse mind and its decriminalisation would lead to moral degradation of society.

Oct 15: HC pulls up Centre for relying on religious texts to justify ban on gay sex, asks it to come up with scientific reports to justify it.

Nov: Govt tells HC judiciary should refrain from interfering, it is for Parliament to decide.

July 2, 2009: Delhi HC allows plea of gay rights activists and legalises sexual activity among consenting adults of same sex.

July 9: Delhi astrologer challenges HC verdict in SC. Several other pleas challenging the judgment also filed.

Feb 15, 2012: SC begins final day-to-day hearing in the case.

Dec 11, 2013: SC sets aside 2009 Delhi HC order which had decriminalised gay sex.

Dec 20: Centre files review plea in SC seeking re-examination of its verdict.

Jan 28, 2014: SC refuses to review its verdict on criminalising gay sex, dismisses pleas of Centre, activists.

April 3: SC agrees to consider an open court hearing on curative petitions filed by gay rights activists against its verdict criminalising homosexuality.

Feb 2, 2016: SC refers curative pleas to five-judge bench.

June 29, 2016: SC refers plea of celebrities like dancer N S Jauhar, chef Ritu Dalmia and hotelier Aman Nath to a bench already seized of the matter.

Aug 24, 2017: SC declares right to privacy a fundamental right under the Constitution, also observes that “sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy”.

Jan 8, 2018: SC agrees to reconsider its 2013 decision, refers plea challenging Section 377 to a larger bench. Later, 20 former and current students of the IITs join the fight against Section 377.

July 9: SC refuses to adjourn proposed hearing by a five-judge Constitution Bench on a batch of petitions.

July 10: Five-judge Constitution Bench commences hearing on batch of pleas.

July 11: Centre leaves decision to the wisdom of SC.

July 12: SC rejects demand for a referendum over constitutional validity of Section 377 saying it would not go by majority opinion.

July 17: SC reserves verdict saying that the courts cannot wait for a majoritarian government to decide on enacting, amending or striking down a law if it violates fundamental rights.

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