Activists celebrate as SC decides to revisit Section 377 | india | Hindustan Times
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Activists celebrate as SC decides to revisit Section 377

india Updated: Feb 03, 2016 08:18 IST
Agencies
SC on homosexuality

The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred a curative petition challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to a five-judge constitution bench for hearing.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

The Supreme Court’s decision to begin re-examining its verdict criminalising homosexual acts was widely welcomed by activists on Tuesday as “hope of upholding the democracy” in the country.

Initially apprehensive that the petition would be dismissed outright, LGBT community members said it was a “step forward” that the SC referred a curative petition challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to a five-judge constitution bench for hearing.

Read: Supreme Court refers gay sex ban to constitution bench, activists cheer

“I am happy... Now, the court is going to look at the constitutional arguments to decriminalise homosexuality, hopes have been raised that if the petition has been accepted that means they see some merit in it. Let’s hope this is the last leg of the fight,” said LBGT activist and Naz Foundation director Anjali Gopalan.

“The apprehension was it would be dismissed outright. Now we are waiting for the date of the hearing,” sexual rights activist Pawan Dhall told IANS. Transgender activist Ranjita Sinha welcomed the fact that the apex court decision reopened the debate.

Read: All you need to know about Section 377

Another transgender rights activist, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, said: “Actually, the court could have struck it down and asked the government to react on it to assert that democracy prevails in the country and the right of expression, right to life and dignity is still there. But it is interesting how the matter has been referred to a five-judge bench”.

A curative petition is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court which is normally decided by judges in-chamber. In rare cases, such petitions are given an open court hearing.

A bench of three seniormost judges -- Chief Justice TS Thakur, justice AR Dave and justice Jagdish Singh Khehar -- referred the curative petition to the larger bench as counsel Kapil Sibal said the issue involved constitutional questions of far-reaching importance and must be heard by a five-judge bench.