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SC to take up plea seeking review of its verdict on gay sex

The Supreme Court will tomorrow take up petitions filed by Centre and gay rights activists seeking review of its verdict declaring gay sex an offence punishable up to life imprisonment.

Gay Sex
Representational pic/AFP

A bench of justices H L Dattu and S J Mukhopadhaya will take up the petition in chamber to decide whether the verdict needs to be re-looked or not. Seeking stay on the operation of the judgement, gay rights activists, including NGO Naz Foundation, said thousands from the LGBT community became open about their sexual identity during the past four years after the High Court decriminalised gay sex and they are now facing the threat of being prosecuted.

They submitted that criminalising gay sex amounts to violation of fundamental rights of the LGBT community. The NGO submitted there are a number of "grave errors of law" and "wrong application of law" in the judgement which needs to be corrected.

"This court has failed to consider the submission that Section 377 violates the right to health of men who have sex with men, since criminalisation of same sex activity impedes access to health services, including HIV prevention efforts. This contention was supported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in this court," the petition said

. Amid huge outrage against the judgement, the Centre also filed a review petition in the apex court. The Centre sought review to "avoid grave miscarriage of justice to thousands of LGBT" persons who have been aggrieved by the apex court judgement contending it is "unsustainable" as it "suffers from errors".

While setting aside the July 2, 2009 judgement of the Delhi High Court, the apex court had held that Section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of the IPC does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and that the declaration made by the high court is legally unsustainable.

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