Supreme Court judge DY Chandrachud criticises govt for refusing to take a stand on Section 377
Justice DY Chandrachud, who was a member of the five-judge constitution bench which ruled that gay sex among consenting adults was no more a criminal offence
A Supreme Court judge expressed disappointment over the government's decision to leave it to the court's wisdom to take a call on sensitive issues such as the recent challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised homosexuality between consenting adults, saying that politicians handing such power to the judges are happening on everyday basis.
Justice DY Chandrachud, who was a member of the five-judge constitution bench which ruled that gay sex among consenting adults was no more a criminal offence, said on Saturday that in Section 377 the judgment really represented in that sense the battle between laws of a colonial origin and laws, which must truly represent constitutional values.
The judge also said that this concern about the need to harmonise pre-Independence or colonial laws with the ethos of constitutional jurisprudence was reflected in the judgment.
Section 377 based on law passed in 1533
The Supreme Court, which unanimously struck down part of the British-era law that criminalised gay sex, has traced the history of the 158-year-old provision in its judgement back to the reign of King Henry VIII in 1533. A five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malohtra said that the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) violated the constitutional right to equality and dignity. Justice Nariman said section 377 was modelled on the Britain's Buggery Act of 1533, which prohibited "the detestable and abominable offence" of buggery (anal intercourse) committed with mankind or beast.
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