The Supreme Court, on Monday, refused to defer Tuesday’s hearing on petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality.
The decision came after the centre sought more time from the apex court to file petitions on gay sex. Centre has challenged the SC’s 2013 verdict of criminalisation of gay sex.
However, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to adjourn the hearing “It will not be adjourned,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khawilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.
The newly re-constituted five-judge constitution bench is scheduled to commence hearing of four crucial matters, including the issue of sexual relationship between persons of same sex, from tomorrow.
The Supreme Court had in 2013 restored sexual relationship between persons of same sex as a criminal offence.
After the apex court had set aside the Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgement decriminalising sex between consenting adults of same sex by holding as “illegal” Section 377 of IPC, review petitions were filed, and on their dismissal curative petitions were filed by the affected parties for re-examination of the original verdict.
During the pendency of the curative petitions, the plea was made that an open court hearing should be granted and after the apex court agreed to it, several fresh writ petitions were filed seeking decriminalising of Section 377.
Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and says whoever voluntarily has carnal inter course 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 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.
The new five-judge bench will be headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and would comprise justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
(With agency inputs)