A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra termed the part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which crimiminalises unnatural sex as irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.
The bench, which also comprised Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, struck down Section 377 as being violative of right to equality.
The top court, in four separate but concurring judgements, set aside its own verdict in the Suresh Kaushal case. Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse 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 apex court, however, said other aspects of Section 377 of IPC dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children shall remain in force.
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.
– 5 bench constitution bench over rules 2 judge bench order of 2013
– SC terms part of IPC’s Section 377, which criminalises consensual
unnatural sex, irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary
– SC partly strikes down Section 377 as violative of right to equality
– SC says Section 377 of IPC was weapon to harass members of LGBT
community, resulting in discrimination.
– SC says other aspects of Section 377 dealing with unnatural sex with
animals and children remain in force
– Members of LGBTQ community were targeted and exploited due to Sec 377
of IPC, says Justice Chandrachud
– Govt, media must give wider publicity to SC judgement so that LGBTQ
community doesn’t face discrimination: Justice Nariman
– SC says so far as consensual unnatural sexual act in private is
concerned, it is neither harmful nor contagious to society
– SC terms sexual orientation as biological phenomenon, says any
discrimination on this grounds is violative of fundamental rights
– Courts must protect dignity of an individual as right to live with
dignity is recognised as fundamental right: SC
– CJI Dipak Misra, speaking for himself and Justice A M Khanwilkar, says
denial of self expression is akin to inviting death
– LGBT community possesses same human and fundamental rights as other
citizens, says SC