— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) July 10, 2018
Section 377 has been a point of contention in India. There have been several protests and rallies against the provision in the Indian Penal Code. Petitions by LGBTQ activists claim their “rights to sexuality, sexual autonomy, choice of sexual partner, life, privacy, dignity and equality, along with the other fundamental rights guaranteed under Part-III of Constitution, are violated by Section 377.” Here are some pictures from protests across the country.
Is sexual freedom fundamental to right to life?
Is sexual freedom fundamental to the right to life? This is what the Supreme Court will decide through this hearing. There are over 20 countries where homosexuality is not a criminal offence, and same-sex marriage is recognised, including the US, England, Australia, Germany and France.
Side note: Criminalisation of homosexuality was first imposed by the British in 1860
The criminalisation of homosexuality was first imposed by the British in 1860. It found sexual activities between members of the same sex against the “order of nature”. Section 377 states “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 ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Rohatgi for petitioners: ‘Sec 377 was result of Victorian morality’
On the definition of Section 377 — intercourse against the order of nature — Rohatgi says this was an outcome of Victorian morality.
Rohatgi for petitioners: ‘Provision has led to society looking at sexual minorities with aversion’
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appears for the petitioner, says the provision remaining in statute book has led to society looking at “sexual minorities” with aversion and Constitutional morality must override this.
Centre to file its response during hearing
ASG Tushar Mehta, representing the Center, said its views would be placed before the court during the course of the hearing. On Monday, the apex court had refused to postpone the hearing after the Centre sought additional time, and said, “You file whatever you want during the hearing.”
The Supreme Court Tuesday is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. A five-judge Constitutional bench had refused to defer the hearing on Monday after the Centre sought more time to file its reply. The bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, comprises Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.