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Supreme Court dismisses homosexuality review plea

Surpreme Court Tuesday dismissed a plea by the centre and NGO Naz Foundation seeking the review of its December 12, 2013 verdict holding homosexuality to be an offence

New Delhi: An apex court bench of Justice H L Dattu and Justice S J Mukhopadhyay dismissed the review petition in a chamber hearing Tuesday afternoon.

A Supreme Court bench of Justice G S Singhvi (since retired) and Justice Mukhopadhyay had set aside a Delhi High Court order overturning Section 377 of the IPC, which held that even consensual sex between adults of same gender was a criminal offence.

Supreme Court
Supreme Court of India

In a big setback to the LGBT community, the Supreme Court had set aside the Delhi High Court judgement decriminalising gay sex and thrown the ball into Parliament's court for amending the law.

The judgement revived the penal provision making gay sex an offence punishable with life imprisonment in a setback to people fighting a battle for recognition of their sexual preferences.

Seeking a stay on the operation of the judgement, gay rights activists, including NGO Naz Foundation, had 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 had submitted that criminalising gay sex amounts to violation of fundamental rights of the LGBT community.

The NGO had 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 review petition had said.

Amid huge outrage against the judgement, the Centre had also filed a review petition in the apex court seeking a relook 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".

Challenging the verdict, Naz Foundation had said in its review plea that the verdict is contrary to the well-settled legal principles of the Constitution and proscribing certain sexual acts between consenting adults in private, demeans and impairs the dignity of all individuals under Article 21, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

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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