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  • SC refuses to hear fresh plea on gay rights, refers matter to CJI

    June 29, 2016

    The LGBT community was a sad lot today, when the SC decided not to hear fresh pleas on gay rights and Section 377. The fresh pleas were supposed to be heard after a lot of famous personalities rallied behind the LGBT community to demand equality. The Supreme Court Wednesday declined to examine a fresh petition challenging the validity of penal provision incriminating gay sex.
     
    A bench led by Justice S A Bobde said that the new petition will be placed before the Chief Justice of India to decide whether it should be heard along with a batch of curative petitions already pending on this issue.
     
    The court said that since validity of Section 377 in IPC is the main issue to be decided by a five-judge bench in curative hearing, the fresh petition should also be placed before the CJI to take a call whether it deserved to be heard too.
     
    The petition has been filed jointly by a celebrity chef, a hotelier, a writer, a business executive and a classical dancer who argue that Section 377 of the Indian penal code violates their right to life.
     
    The celebrities, including chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and dancer N S Johar, have sought protection of their sexual rights on the ground that it is an integral part of the fundamental right to life.
     
    The petition said that “sexual expression, in whatever form, between consenting adults in the privacy of a home ought to receive protection of fundamental rights.”

    It added that the petitioners are “highly accomplished professionals who have been felicitated for their professional achievements, but have suffered because of the deleterious effect of this draconian law on their personal and professional lives.”
     
    The celebrities, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender or LGBT community, said their lives have been “inexorably constricted and their rights infringed” by the penal provision.
     
    “Despite their achievements and contributions to India in various fields, they are being denied the right to sexuality, the most basic and inherent of fundamental rights. Section 377 renders them criminals in their own country,” the plea said.
    In December 2013, India’s gay community had suffered a setback when the Supreme Court overturned a historic 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that had decriminalized homosexuality.
     

    OUR TAKE

    The debate is a heated one but it is also an argument that people always shy from. The case is not at all lost but it is a major setback, since action was expected to be taken this time round. It has been a  long wait and thus, a quick and perfect solution is expected to be framed and presented when argued the next time in court. While one group maintains that Indian values and morals are the only things that make us uniquely different from others, the other group is also right when it states that along with changing times, the mechanisms and thought processes also need to evolve and accord to modern times.


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