rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » SC agrees on open court hearing on gay sex

SC agrees on open court hearing on gay sex

April 22, 2014 18:56 IST

Human rights activists and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community have a reason to smile. Offering a sliver of hope, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear in open court a curative plea against the order criminalising gay sex.

A curative petition is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court, which is normally decided by judges in chamber without giving parties to argue. In rare cases such petitions are given an open court hearing.

A four-judge bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam decided to give an open court hearing to a bunch of petitions filed by gay rights activists, the Naz Foundation and by other persons, including film director Shyam Benegal challenging the apex court’s verdict upholding the validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes gay sex an offence punishable up to life imprisonment.

The petitioners have been spearheading the legal battle on behalf of the LGBT community, arguing that there was an error in the SC’s judgment delivered on December 11 last year.

The apex court had earlier dismissed a batch of review petitions filed by the Centre and gay rights activists against its December 2013 verdict declaring gay sex an offence. 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.

The Supreme Court had on December 11, 2013 set aside the Delhi high court judgment decriminalising gay sex and thrown the ball in Parliament’s court to amend the law. While setting aside the July 2, 2009 judgment 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.

© Copyright 2014 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.