The Centre on Friday moved the Supreme Court to seek a review of its verdict which revived Section 377 of IPC making gay sex an offence punishable with life term. The government contended that recriminalisation of sexual intercourse between consenting adults of the same sex has again put the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community at risk of persecution and harassment. “All those people suddenly have become vulnerable to abuse and discrimination and require immediate relief,” the review petition said.
The Centre’s petition, finalised by Attorney General G E Vahanvati, sought that oral arguments be heard in an open court before disposing of its review petition, which is generally decided in chamber hearing. In the petition filed through advocate Devdutt Kamath, the Centre has cited 76 grounds to contend that the judgment passed by Justice G S Singhvi since retired) and Justice S J Mukhopadhaya is “contrary to well-established principles of law laid down by this court enunciating the width and ambit of Fundamental Rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.” The government has also cited the example of other countries where gay sex has been legalised.
The review petition challenged the principle set by the court that has asked Parliament to amend the law if necessary. “While law-making is the sole responsibility of Parliament, it is the task of this Court to judge the constitutional validity of laws.”
The petition went on to say that the December 11 verdict of the apex court setting aside Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgment which decriminalised gay sex “suffers from glaring legal errors and seeks to invoke certain legal principles which were inapplicable in the facts of the present case”.
“Criminalisation of same sex activity impedes access to health services as well,” the government added.