In a major blow to the LGBT community, Supreme Court today declined to examine the validity of Section 377 and referred a fresh plea against it to the Chief Justice of India.
Supreme Court on Wednesday sent a fresh PIL against Section 377 to the Chief Justice of India. Now, it is up to the CJI to decide if petition is to be heard along with curative petition already pending in SC.
A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan said the matter will be listed before a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India for appropriate orders.
During the hearing, senior advocate Arvind Datar said the plea should be tagged along with the curative petition pending in the court.
The bench then said it could be mentioned before the bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur. “Let the matter be listed for the Chief Justice for appropriate orders,” the bench said.
Some high-profile celebrities like Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and dancer N S Johar, who claim to be part of the LGBT community, have approached the Supreme Court seeking quashing of section 377 of the IPC which criminalises homosexuality in the country.
The gay celebrities, in their plea, said their lives have been “inexorably constricted and their rights infringed” by the penal provision.
Earlier, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur had agreed to hear in an open court the curative plea of NGO ‘Naz Foundation’ and some gay rights activists.
On February 2, the court referred the curative plea to a five-judge Constitution Bench for re-examination of the 2-year old verdict by which a colonial law, criminalising consensual sexual acts between the same sex under section 377 of IPC, was restored.
The curative plea was filed against the dismissal of their petition seeking a review of the 2013 judgement of the apex court upholding the validity of section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of IPC.
Now, the gay celebrities have filed a fresh writ petition to quash the penal provision.
Naz Foundation had filed a petition in December 2001 in the Delhi high court, which had on July 2, 2009, decriminalised Section 377. After refusing twice to entertain pleas against Section 377, the SC had on February 2 referred the issue to a five-judge bench.
(With inputs from PTI)