NEW DELHI- Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would review its controversial ruling that re-criminalized consensual same-sex sexual acts.
A five judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear the curative petition by NGO Naaz Foundation and others seeking a relook at its verdict upholding the validity of Indian Penal Code’s section 377 that criminalizes homosexuality.
“It would be appropriate to refer the issue to a five-judge Constitution bench”, a three-judge bench consisting of three senior-most judges – Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar said in an open-court hearing.
The bench observed that there were important issues concerning the several “constitutional dimensions of importance” were ingrained in the challenge against Section 377 of the IPC which criminalized homosexuality,
Today’s apex court’s decision was welcomed by the members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and gay right activists who said they are happy that the curative petition has not been dismissed and there is a hope of positive outcome of their 15-year-old legal battle.
It had set aside the Delhi High Court’s July 2, 2009 verdict reading down section 377 and decriminalizing consensual sex between the adults of same gender.
The apex court by its December 12, 2013 order and on the review petition on January 28, 2014, upheld the validity of section 377, finding no constitutional infirmity in the penal provision that criminalizes homosexuality.
The then bench of Chief Justice P.Sathasivam, Justice R.M.Lodha, Justice H.L.Dattu and Justice S.J.Mukhopadhaya (all retired since then) had on April 3, 2014, directed hearing of the curative petition in open court after they considered the plea by Naz Foundation in their chambers.
The NGO had moved the Supreme Court seeking to cure “gross miscarriage of justice” in its judgment upholding the validity of section 377.