Supreme Court ends section 377

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised homosexual activity between consenting adults, which was punishable by up to 10 years in jail according to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The five-judge Constitution Bench heard a batch of six petitions and interventions filed by non-governmental organisation Naz Foundation, parents of queer people and Voices Against 377, a collective of human rights groups. These groups urged the top court to reconsider its judgement from 2013, when it set aside a 2009 order by the Delhi High Court decriminalising homosexuality. The top court had then said that only the legislature can change laws. On July 17, a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reserved the verdict on the matter. The court had said it would strike down the law if it is convinced that it violates fundamental rights. The Centre did not take a stand and left the decision “to the wisdom of the court”.

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