Indian supreme court starts hearing on decriminalising gay sex
11 July, 2018, 00:07
The petitions against Section 377, an archaic law from 1860, have been filed by 32 individuals, according to India Today, including celebrities, IITians and LGBT activists such as Bharatnatyam dancer Navtej Johar, culture expert Aman Nath, restaurateurs Ritu Dalmia and Ayesha Kapur, media person Sunil Mehra, hotelier Keshav Suri, the Naz Foundation and others. The petitions against it seek protection of the sexual orientation and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. "You file whatever you want during the hearing".
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the central government's plea for adjourning a scheduled hearing by a constitution bench on July 10 on petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that makes homosexuality a crime.
The apex court in its privacy judgment held that "discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual".
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachudasked the parties to give suggestions to the Attorney General for formulating holistic guidelines for live-streaming of court proceedings. This court ignored the devastating effect the very possibility of prosecution has had on generations of Indians whose sexual orientation was criminalised and made the subject of threats, blackmail, ridicule and repression.
In 2009, the Delhi high court struck it down, ruling that the ban on gay sex violated fundamental rights. "The law copes with life and accordingly change takes place", the apex court observed.
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The petition was filed by senior advocate, Indira Jaisingh.
Subramanian Swamy, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, said homosexuality was unnatural and against Hindu nationalism, according to video news agency ANI, a Reuters affiliate.
There are two batches of pleas challenging gay sex that are pending in the top court. Section 377 IPC denies LGBT persons their rights to full personhood, sexuality, sexual autonomy, and choice of sexual partner, which are implicit in the notion of life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The campaign for decriminalising gay sex also been bolstered by a supreme court ruling in August previous year, which ruled that privacy, including a person's sexuality, was a fundamental right.
"Right to choose my partner is part of my fundamental right to privacy", Datar had submitted.
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