A three-judge bench of Supreme Court, headed by CJI, said it would reconsider and examine the Constitutional validity of Section 377. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said the issue arising out of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) required to be debated upon by a larger bench.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to take up a legal battle over a MS law that allows state employees and private businesses to deny services to LGBT people based on religious objections.
A new round of challenges is expected from residents who have been denied service, and the issue could come back to the Supreme Court's doorstep. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality.
Senior lawyer Harish Salve on Monday said that section 377 of IPC will soon be struck down by the apex court.
Section 377 reads, "Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman or animal, shall be punished with (imprisonment for life), or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable for be fine".
In 2009, the Delhi High Court had described Section 377 as a violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution. The petitioners had told the court they were living in constant fear of police action due to their sexual orientation.
The justices left in place a June ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals that the plaintiffs - same-sex couples, civil rights advocates including the head of the state NAACP chapter, a church and others - did not have legal standing to bring the lawsuit.
A law in MS called the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, enacted in April 2016, notes that the state cannot punish citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions who oppose same-sex marriage, homosexuality and transgender rights.
The activist Gautam Bhan said SC's reading of the right to privacy as an aspect of respect and equality, especially in the case of LGBTQ rights, was welcome.
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