Supreme Court legalises gay sex in landmark ruling

Section 377 verdict by Supreme Court today: 5 key things to know

The Supreme Court will pronounce its much-awaited verdict on a clutch of petitions seeking decriminalisation of a 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual gay sex.

At the same time, Maneka Guruswamy had quoted instances of discrimination faced by members of the LGBT community and said the petitioners sought emancipation of a "class of people left out of the promises of our Constitution". Social morality can not violate the rights of even one single individual.

A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, passed a unanimous verdict, with four concurring judgments, reading down the draconian Colonial-era Section 377.

Justice Rohinton Nariman taking note of Justice Chandrachud's observations during the July 17 hearing had said that prohibitions have never resolves any social issue. Respect for each other's rights, and others are supreme humanity. If the Supreme Court strikes down the Section 377, it may even open up debate for legal recourse for male sexual assault victim, apart from restoring the dignity and rights of gay couples. But even as it did that, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra brushed aside as "far-fetched" arguments from opponents of decriminalising Section 377.

The 2017 landmark judgement on privacy observed, "sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy".

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"Section 377 inflicts tragedy and anguish; it has to be remedied". "Consensual sexual acts of adults are allowed for LGBT community".

It was briefly overturned in 2009, but the Supreme Court reinstated it in 2013. The Court expressed that it will examine whether its is permissible under Constitutional morality to criminalize sexual acts performed by consenting adults.

The apex court said that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of freedom of speech and expression.

Many people consider gay sex to be taboo in socially conservative India. However, the issue resurrected in July 2016, when a fresh petition filed.

Advocate Manoj George, appearing on behalf of two Christian associations, had also criticised the "U-turn" resorted to by the Centre in the present batch of petitions, considering its earlier stand in Suresh Kumar Kaushal.

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