SC to hear fresh plea against Sec 377

SC to hear fresh plea against Sec 377

Section 377 of the IPC criminialises carnal intercourse and homosexuality, which it terms 'unnatural'. AP/PTI file photo for representation.

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a fresh plea by an NGO and others, contending Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, punishing carnal intercourse between consenting heterosexual adults, violated their fundamental rights of sexual orientation.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra posted the petition filed by Hamsafar Trust and Ashok Row Kavi, Vivek Raj Gautam and others, for consideration on May 1.

Senior advocate Anand Grover mentioned the petition before the court seeking urgent listing of the matter.

The petitioners contended that Section 377 that penalised voluntary carnal intercourse violated their fundamental rights to privacy, dignity and autonomy under the Constitution. They also claimed the penal provisions also violated their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution. The petitioners relied upon the apex court's five-judge bench decision on the right to privacy and another judgement on Kerala girl Hadiya's case.

The top court had on April 23 asked the Centre to respond to a plea made by Delhi hotelier challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377, that mandated up to life term punishment for the same-sex relationship.

Keshav Suri, executive director of Lalit Hotels, claims to belong to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, contended that he lived under the constant fear of being prosecuted for exercising his choice of sexuality.

He stated that he could not live a life of dignity and can not have free relation with his partner of almost a decade.

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