The Supreme Court said on Monday it will revisit its 2013 verdict upholding Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that bans homosexual sexual acts, and referred a petition against the controversial colonial law to a larger bench.
A three-judge bench of the SC led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the 2013 judgement, which overturned a 2009 Delhi high court verdict that decriminalised consensual same-sex acts, was guided by the perception of majority and concept of social morality.
“Concept of consensual sex may have more priority than a group right and may require more protection. A section of people or individual who exercise their choice should never live in a state of fear,” the court said.
“What is natural to one may not be natural to the other.”
The petition, which challenges the legal validity of Section 377 on the ground that it is not a reasonable restriction because the law has the potential to destroy an individual’s choice and sexual orientation, was filed by five prominent members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community.
“The determination of order of nature is not a constant phenomenon. Societal morality also changes from age to age. Law copes with life and accordingly change takes place,” the SC said, asking the petitioners to provide a copy of the petition to the central government’s office so that the Centre can be represented in the case.