New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to relook into its verdict criminalizing gay sex in the country.
A bench of Justice HL Dattu and Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya, in their in-chamber proceedings, dismissed a bunch of petitions filed by the Centre and gay rights activists against its December 2013 verdict declaring gay sex an offence punishable up to life imprisonment.
In a big setback to the LGBT community, the Supreme Court had on 11 December set aside the Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising gay sex and thrown the ball into Parliament’s court for amending the law.
The judgment revived the penal provision making gay sex an offence punishable by life imprisonment in a setback to people fighting a battle for recognition of their sexual preferences.
Seeking a stay on the operation of the judgment, 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 decriminalized gay sex and they are now facing the threat of being prosecuted.
They had submitted that criminalizing gay sex amounts to a 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 (the) law” in the judgment 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 criminalization 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 a huge outrage against the judgment, 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 judgment 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 2 July 2009 judgment 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.