The Centre on Wednesday said it was leaving it to the wisdom of the Supreme Court to decide if a law that criminalises sex "against the order of nature" was constitutionally valid. We are examining whether the relationship between two consenting adults is itself a manifestation of Article 21.
On July 10, a five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra is hearing six separate petitions. Was it the order of nature in 1860?
Supreme Court is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging a 158-year-old colonial-era law that criminalises gay sex.
Another factor heightening optimism is the supreme court's ruling last August on the right to privacy.
The court said, the matter has been pending for a while and the Centre should have filed its response by now.More news: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit: Donald Trump says Germany is 'captive of Russians'
At a time when countries all over the world were passing progressive laws that upheld the rights of the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, the Supreme Court in its 2013 judgement quashed the aspirations of many who have been through hell.
Others who have filed petitions against section 377 are journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur.
The Centre requested the court to adjourn the hearing and sought four weeks to file its reply to the petitions. "Those are individual issues we can not pre-judge now", Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said.
The bench on Monday had rejected the Centre's plea to defer the hearing. "I am not appearing now as the Attorney General", he told.
In a surprise move, the court announced in 2016 that it would take up the Section 377 case and hear arguments seeking to have the law struck down.More news: Zaman leads Pakistan to T20 tri-series title
The bench, which agreed with the submission of Rohatgi, also said it would examine the fundamental right to life and sexual freedom. "The question here is whether Section 377 is ultra vires (beyond one's legal power) or not".
The law known as Section 377 - introduced more than a century ago under British rule - bans all sexual activity outside heterosexual sex as "against the order of nature". It denies LGBT persons, their right to full personhood, sexuality, sexual autonomy, and choice of sexual partner, which are implicit in the notion of life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The apex court in its privacy judgment held that "discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual".
"The Petitioners can not overcome a lurking fear that their consensual relationships, even within the privacy of their homes, may invite coercive state action at the hands of a busybody, rival, political party, or any other 3rd party who has no bona fide interest with the private lives of the Petitioners, and is motivated only by malice/prejudice", stated the petition.More news: Cave rescue: The Australian diving doctor who stayed with the boys