Section 377: Seven things you must know about Supreme Court's historic verdict

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court today unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex.

Published: 06th September 2018 05:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2018 06:46 PM   |  A+A-

LGBTQ community people with a rainbow flag celebrate the Supreme Court verdict which decriminalises consensual gay sex in Bengaluru. (Photo | PTI)

By Online Desk

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court today unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex.

The judgment titled Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India was delivered by a Bench led by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The judgments were all concurring.

Top 7 points from the landmark judgement:

  1. Any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation amounts to a violation of fundamental rights.    LGBTQ possess full range of constitutional rights, including sexual orientation and partner choice, LGBTQ has equal citizenship and equal protection of laws.

  2. The part of Section 377 which has been struck down pertains to the criminalisation of consensual sexual acts between man and man, man and woman or woman and woman.

  3. A part of that law still remains; non-consensual or consent obtained by force continues to be an offence, as will "carnal intercourse with children, animals and bestiality". (It is clarified that consent must be free consent, which is completely voluntary in nature, and devoid of any duress or coercion)

  4. One feature of the judgment is reliant on the Mental Healthcare Act as per which Parliament has recognised that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

  5. This judgment will be considered in all pending prosecutions.

  6. The bench said that the Centre must give wide publicity of its verdict to put to end the social stigma associated with homosexuality.

  7. The view taken by the Supreme Court in the Suresh Kumar Koushal judgement is impermissible, the five-judge SC bench ruled (The verdict overrules the infamous 2013 case of Suresh Kumar Koushal VS Naz Foundation where the apex court had struck down a 2009 Delhi High Court judgement decriminalizing gay sex).

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