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SC sets aside Delhi HC ruling on gay sex; activists protest

So now after the SC verdict, the penal provision on Section 377 has come back into force and ‘sex against the order of nature’ is now a criminal offence punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya set aside the interpretation of the high court which had decriminalised the section 377 of IPC. The bench said that Parliament is authorised to delete section 377 of IPC but till the time this penal provision is there, the court cannot legalise this kind of sexual relationship.

The court said that it has merely pronounced on the correctness of the view taken by the Delhi high court on the constitutionality of Section 377 IPC. ‘Notwithstanding this verdict, the competent legislature shall be free to consider the desirability and propriety of deleting Section 377 IPC from the statute book or amend the same’, said the court.

The apex court verdict came after a batch of petitions of anti-gay right activists and social and religious organisations against the high court verdict decriminalising gay sex. They had challenged the decriminalisation of gay sex on various grounds, including religious and social. They had contended that gay sex is against the cultural and religious values of the country. The apex court had reserved its order in March last year.

The high court had in 2009 decriminalised gay sex, ruling that sex between two consenting adults in private would not be an offence. The petition seeking to decriminalise gay sex was filed in the high court by Naz Foundation. Against the high court order various groups had approached the apex court challenging the ruling that decriminalised gay sex.
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