NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred a petition to make homosexuality legal to a five-judge bench.A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will hear curative petitions seeking re-examination of its verdict criminalising sexual activity between same sex consenting adults under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
The news has come as a ray of hope for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.A three-judge bench – comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justices AR Dave and JS Khehar – said that since important issues concerning the Constitution were involved in the matter, it would be appropriate to refer the issue to a five-judge Constitution bench.
The bench said that the larger bench would be constituted in the future.The bench was told there were eight curative petitions seeking re-examination of the order on the review petition and the December 11, 2013 judgement by which the Delhi High Court verdict de-criminalising section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of the IPC was set aside.
The bench was also informed that the churches of northern India and All India Muslim Personal Law Board were against decriminalising homosexuality.
At the outset, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, arguing for decriminalising Section 377 of IPC, submitted that huge constitutional issues are involved in the matter.
A battery of senior lawyers appeared in the case. He submitted the issue concerns the “most private and the most precious” part of life that is right to sexuality within the four corners of your domain which has been held as unconstitutional.