The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 28 , 2014
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Supreme Court refuses to review its verdict criminalising gay sex

New Delhi, Jan 28 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to take another look into its verdict criminalising gay sex in the country.

A bench of Justices H L Dattu and S J Mukhopadhaya dismissed a bunch of petitions filed by the Centre and gay rights activists against its December 2013 verdict declaring gay sex an offence punishable up to life imprisonment.

On December 11, in a big setback to the LGBT community, the Supreme Court had set aside a Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising gay sex and thrown the ball into Parliament's court for amending the law.

The judgment revived the penal provision making gay sex an offence punishable with life imprisonment in a setback to people fighting a battle for recognition of their sexual preferences.

Seeking a stay on the operation of the judgment, gay rights activists, including NGO Naz Foundation, had said thousands from the LGBT community became open about their sexual identity during the past four years after the high court decriminalised gay sex and they are now facing the threat of being prosecuted.

They had submitted that criminalising gay sex amounts to violation of fundamental rights of the LGBT community.

The NGO had submitted there are a number of “grave errors of law” and “wrong application of law” in the judgment that have to be corrected.

“This court has failed to consider the submission that Section 377 violates the right to health of men who have sex with men, since criminalisation of same sex activity impedes access to health services, including HIV prevention efforts.

This contention was supported by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in this court,” the review petition had said.

Amid huge outrage against the judgment, the Centre had also filed a review petition in the apex court seeking a second look to “avoid grave miscarriage of justice to thousands of LGBT” persons who have been aggrieved by the apex court judgement contending it is “unsustainable” as it “suffers from errors”.

Challenging the verdict, Naz Foundation had said in its review plea that the verdict is contrary to the well-settled legal principles of the Constitution and proscribing certain sexual acts between consenting adults in private, demeans and impairs the dignity of all individuals under Article 21, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

While setting aside the July 2, 2009, judgment of the Delhi High Court, the apex court had held that Section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of the IPC does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and that the declaration made by the high court is legally unsustainable.

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