India: Supreme Court refers plea against Section 377 to five-judge Bench

Moved by arguments that a person cannot be branded a criminal for his sexuality, the Supreme Court referred a batch of petitions challenging Section 377 of IPC, a colonial era law criminalising consensual sexual acts of LGBT adults in private, to a five-judge Constitution Bench for in-depth hearing. A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justices Anil R. Dave and J.S. Khehar gave full credence to arguments that the threat imposed by Section 377 amounts to denial of the rights to privacy and dignity and results in gross miscarriage of justice.

Giving an indication that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Section 377 with new eyes, Chief Justice Thakur told senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for petitioner Naz Foundation, that the new Bench would not limit itself to the narrow confines of the curative law and conduct a comprehensive hearing of the arguments placed for the protection of the dignity and rights of the LGBT community.

With this, what had seemed to have been the last strand of hope for the decade-old legal fight for LGBT rights has suddenly transformed into a full-fledged battle cry with the Supreme Court indirectly accepting that its past decisions upholding Section 377 IPC needs a thorough relook. Read more via the Hindu