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Supreme Court to review 2013 verdict that upheld Section 377

Supreme Court to review 2013 verdict that upheld Section 377

The Apex Court today has referred a plea to decriminalize homosexuality under section 377 of IPC to a Constitution Bench, reported Hindu.

The judgment that overturned a 2009 judgment by Delhi High Court that decriminalised homosexual acts also said "plight of sexual minorities" can not be applied blindfolded for deciding the constitutionality of the law enacted by the Indian legislature.

The Mississippi Center for Justice and Lambda Legal joined civil-rights attorney Rob McDuff of Jackson in filing the appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of 11 individuals, while the Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church and Campaign for Southern Equality appealed the law's constitutionality.

LGBT rights groups called the law the "worst in the nation" and the Supreme Court's decision a "missed opportunity".

The Supreme Court says it will not take up a challenge to a MS law that allows businesses and government officials to deny services to LGBT people if doing so would conflict with certain "sincerely held" religious beliefs.

Some religious conservatives are celebrating the Supreme Court's decision regarding the law, which was strongly supported by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant. "The time has come that either the courts must read down Section 377 or the government should repeal it from the IPC".

Section 377 of the IPC refers to "unnatural offences" and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine. The apex court had concluded that privacy included at its core the preservation of personal intimacies and that sexual orientation was an essential attribute of privacy.

On Monday, a three-judge bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra made a decision to re-examine the constitutional validity of Section 377 and said the matter would be referred to a larger bench.

"A section of people or individuals who exercise their choice should never remain in a state of fear", the court said, in response to a case lodged by LBGTI activists arguing the ban has put them at constant risk of arrest.

All India Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev also welcomed the top court's decision saying,"Everybody has equal right to live life the way they want".

What's the Supreme Court verdict on transgenders?

At first, the incoming law was blocked by a federal judge in MS back in 2016, the same year the law was signed, but the 5 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that.