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SC to take up gay law plea

New Delhi, April 21: The Supreme Court has agreed to keep in mind its ruling on transgender rights when it takes up a curative petition tomorrow seeking a review of its order prohibiting any form of gay or unnatural sex.

“Yes, we will consider your plea,” the bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and M.V. Ramana told senior counsel Anand Grover appearing for the NGO, Naz Foundation, which filed the petition.

The bench gave the assurance after Grover said the NGO had moved an application urging the court to hear its curative petition in the light of the transgender rights ruling.

On April 3, the apex court had said it would “consider” a plea for an “open court” and constitutional bench hearing of the curative petition challenging its decision to re-criminalise gay sex and other forms of “unnatural sex”.

Besides the NGO, several other individuals have filed applications seeking to intervene for or against the judgment.

In a landmark judgment on April 15, the apex court had ruled that transgenders shall be treated as the third gender apart from males and females, and would be entitled to all fundamental rights and reservation benefits accruing to socially disadvantaged and backward communities.

In its curative petition, the NGO said that in the wake of the recent Criminal Law (Amendment), Act, 2013, the court must review its decision because consensual sex between two persons, irrespective of gender or form of sex, was not punishable.

On December 11, 2013, the apex court had ruled that “unnatural sex against the order of nature” was a criminal offence, and may entail jail terms ranging from 10 years to life.