New Delhi: In a welcoming move, the Supreme Court on Monday has reopened the debate on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality in the country.
In response to a writ petition challenging the validity of section 377, the Supreme Court has referred the case to a larger bench.
The 3-judge bench took into account views expressed in a recent judgment by a 9-judge bench giving Right to Privacy fundamental right status, which was also in favour or respecting freedom of individuals to their sexual orientation.
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“Societal morality changes with time, law walks with life. A section of people cant live in fear of their individual choice,” the bench said.
In 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised the relevant sections of Section 377 that pertain to sex between consenting adults. However, in December 2013, that judgment was overturned by the apex court which had held that amending or repealing Section 377 would be a matter for Parliament and not the judiciary.
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On the issue of homosexuality being “against the order of nature”, as the bill describes, the Supreme Court said: “The determination of order of nature is not a constant phenomenon. Societal morality changes from age to age”
The Supreme Court has also issued a notice to the Centre seeking a response on a writ petition which says they live in fear of the Police because of their sexual preferences. It has sought an explanation from the central government