SC seeks global data on gay sex laws

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought to “broaden the canvass” on decriminalization of gay sex by asking for information on legal provisions on the matter in other countries.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhyaya asked senior counsel Amrendra Sharan to furnish the details on the laws on gay sex in other countries. Appearing for Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Sharan submitted that the carnal intercourse was against the order of nature. He challenged the Delhi High Court’s verdict saying that it was against the public morality and violative of the fundamental rights.

The counsel also claimed that the decision tried to discriminate people by creating a class on the basis of sexual orientation. “How many countries are there where there is such provision (as Section 377 of the IPC)? Have you got the number of cases filed under Section 377 IPC in the country and how many cases lead to harassment of a particular class (gay community),” the bench asked. The bench said that its verdict would have impact on other provisions of the IPC and on other laws.

Sharan termed as erroneous the reasoning taken by the Delhi High Court in its judgment on July 2, 2009, that Section 377 of the IPC providing life term as maximum punishment for gay sex was against the right to privacy as given under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“The right to privacy does not confer any right on consenting adults to commit and act in private which is illegal. In other words, right to privacy does not confer any immunity to crimes committed by consenting adults in private,” he said.

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