Justices Won't Review Challenges to Mississippi's Anti-Gay Law

5 Supreme Court Judges to Decide If Women Can Be Punished For Adultery
Supreme Court to decide whether women can be punished for adultery
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09 January, 2018

The court on Monday said it would refer the question of the validity of section 377 of the Indian penal code to a larger bench for examination before October this year.

On Monday, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra made a decision to re-examine the constitutional validity of Section 377 and said the matter would be referred to a larger bench. The apex court also issued a notice today to the Centre seeking its response to a writ petition filed by five members of the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, who said they live in anxiety of police due to their natural sexual orientation and preferences. "Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality".

The Supreme Court also mentioned to a Constitutional bench the petition seeking to decriminalize consensual sex between LGBTQ adults. The Apex court will now revisit it's 2013 verdict that criminalizes gay sex.

Section 377 criminalises sexual acts "against the order of nature" and has undergone many twists and turns ever since the Delhi High Court decriminalised it in 2009. But earlier petitions to review the ban were overturned by the court.

Section 377 of IPC - which came into force in 1862 - defines unnatural offences.

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Elated over the decision, an LGBT Activist said,"We need to welcome it".

In August 2017, the Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict, declared right to privacy a fundamental right, ushering in hope for the gay and LGBT community.

SC has also issues notice to the Centre seeking response on a writ petition filed by five members of LGBT community, who say they live in fear of Police due to their natural sexual preferences, according to new agency ANI. It also asked the Centre to include them in the OBC quota.

Arvind Datar, counsel for Petitioners argued in the Supreme Court about the clarity of the consensual sex which punishes one of the partners while leaving the other which the Court did take a note and said "individual autonomy and individual's natural inclination can not be atrophied unless the restriction is reasonable to yield to the morality of the public at large". "The people of Mississippi have the right to ensure that all of our citizens are free to peacefully live and work without fear of being punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs", Bryant said, according to Mississippi Today. "We think it appropriate to send this issue to a larger bench", they said.


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