Legal Blog: Decriminalizing Homosexuality : Supreme Court to Hear Petitions in April

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Decriminalizing Homosexuality : Supreme Court to Hear Petitions in April

Source : Sify

The Supreme Court Monday fixed April 19 for hearing a bunch of petitions challenging a Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising homosexual relationship among consenting adults.

'It is pure question of law and the interpretation of the statute,' said Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly while directing all the parties to file their pleadings within eight weeks.

The bench also directed the court registry to complete all services of the notices relating to the case and gave it two months time.

The court said that it was fixing two days for hearing the matter and might consider extending the same depending on the 'vastness and extent of the arguments'.

When senior counsel Fali Nariman suggested that let the court grant leave and allow parties to complete their pleadings, the court said then it will take two to three years for the case to reach the regular hearing stage.

The court said that every petitioner would get time to present the case.

The court rejected the plea by one of the petitioners to implead the armed forces. The Army Act describes homosexuality as an act of 'unbecoming conduct' and 'any disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind'. The offenders are liable to face court martial.

In a landmark judgment July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises gay sex among consenting adults, was a violation of fundamental rights.

That ruling followed a public interest litigation filed by NGO Naz Foundation along the activist group 'Voices Against 377'.

The high court ruled that any discrimination violated the right to equality. Section 377 outlaws any act against the order of nature. It recommends jail term of up to 10 years for violators along with fine.

Gay activists say police misuse the section to harass them.

Find the Delhi High Court's Judgment in Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Others here.

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