The Supreme Court on Monday refused to defer the hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, on a clutch of petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. The Centre, which has challenged the criminalisation of gay sex by the top court in 2013, had sought an adjournment of tomorrow’s hearing, saying it needed time to file its response in the matter.
The five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, however, rejected the Centre’s plea. “It will not be adjourned,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khawilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.
After the apex court had set aside the Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgment decriminalising sex between consenting adults of same sex by holding as “illegal” Section 377 of IPC, review petitions were filed, and on their dismissal curative petitions were filed by the affected parties for the re-examination of the original verdict.
IPC’s Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.