Almost six weeks after the Supreme Court (SC) had reserved its verdict on the decriminalisation of homosexuality under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the top court will today announce its verdict on the matter.
Community members are once again hopeful as the Supreme Court begun new hearing of a cluster of petitions challenging Section 377 on July 10.
Delivering the judgement, India's chief justice, Dipak Misra, said: "Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - can not be said to be unconstitutional". "Explanation. -Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section".
Saying that individual liberty is the soul of the constitution, Justice DY Chandrachud observed, "Section 377 is a colonial legacy and it continued in the law book even after independence".
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In a landmark Judgment Supreme Court of India has struck down 157 year old law which criminalizes consensual homo sexual acts between adults.
"Section 377 is arbitrary". Now, it is no longer an offence under Section 377 to engage in consensual sex in private. This comes after the Supreme Court on July 9 rejected Centre's plea to adjourn the hearing on Section 377.
The law had become a "weapon for harassment for the LGBT community", he added.
Though the law is rarely enforced in full, it has helped create a culture of fear and repression within the LGBT community, say campaigners.
This decision was then appealed in the Supreme Court via a review petition, and the last known status was that of a pending curative petition.
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There were indications earlier that the SC favoured legalising gay sex. The hearing is now going on at the Apex Court and the verdict is expected to arrive very soon. "Prejudices are deeply ingrained in society", Justice Dipak Misra said.
The historic judgement came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs.
The court had previously reinstated the ban in 2013 after four years of decriminalisation.
All of these petitions were tagged together, so the Supreme Court was hearing six petitions at the same time.
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