Live updates: SC reads down Section 377, says homosexuality not a crime

Section 377 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 10 years.

Live updates: SC reads down Section 377, says homosexuality not a crime
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NEW DELHI: In a welcoming judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday partially repealed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalising consensual gay sex thus bringing down a 158-year-old colonial law. The judgment was delivered by a five-member bench -- Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

Section 377 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 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its verdict on July 17 after hearing various stakeholders, including gay rights activists. The Centre, which had initially sought the adjournment for filing its response to the petitions, had later left to the wisdom of the court the issue of the legality of the penal provision with regard to the aspects of criminalising consensual unnatural sex between two consenting adults. The Centre had said that the other aspects of the penal provision dealing with minors and animals should be allowed to remain in the statute book.

Here are the live updates:-

* It is an important decision. I'm happy as Court has realised the right of LGBTs, their pain & gave them proper space in the society. The most important thing about this decision is that they will be given equal rights as others: Mukul Rohatgi 

* Humsafar Trust takes out LGBT pride parade in Mumbai after Supreme Court legalises homosexuality.

* Welcome today’s landmark ruling by SC. Sexual orientation and gender expression form integral part of an individual’s identity the world over & violence, stigma & discrimination based on these attributes constitute an egregious violation of human rights: United Nations

* See pictures of celebrations across the country by LGBTQ community

* Homosexuality genetic flaw, cannot be equated with normal sexual behaviour, says BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

* I'm pleased to welcome SC decision to decriminalise consensual acts of adults in private. In this country, we've allowed government to interfere in private lives of people to discriminate against people on basis of sexual orientation, but SC stood up for equal treatment of citizens: Shashi Tharoor

* Justice Indu Malhotra said, "Members of LGBT community members and their family members owe an apology from society for being denied equal rights over the years,  The society owes an apology to the LGBTQ community for the years of stigma imposed on them."

* SC verdict brings Tears of joy as LGBT community celebrates end of Section 377

* Welcoming the decision people all over the country celebrate the new dawn.

* De-criminalisation is but the first step; The Constitution envisages much more. LGBTs victim of Victorian morality. Constitutional morality and not Societal morality should be the driving force for deciding validity of Section 377, DY Chandrachud J.

* Treatment of homosexuality as a disorder/ disease has a severe impact on mental health of such persons, DY Chandrachud J

* To deny LGBT communitu of their right to sexual orientation is a denial of their citizenship and a violation of their privacy. They cannot be pushed into obscurity by an oppressive colonial legislation, DY Chandrachud J.

* This case is much more than just decriminalising a provision. It is about an aspiration to realise Constitutional rights and equal existence of LGBT community as other citizens, DY Chandrachud. 

* Justice Nariman concludes his concurring judgment, Justice Chandrachud reading his judgment now

* Justice Rohinton Nariman places extensive reliance on foreign jurisprudence including recent judgment from Trinidad and Tobago.

* Second judge Justice R F Nariman says homosexuality is not a mental problem and the Parliament is also alive to the fact.

* Autonomy establishes identity which is part of dignity of an individual: CJI

* Justice Rohinton Nariman now reads out his concurring judgment.

* Section377 of IPC insofar as it criminalises consensual sexual acts between man and man, man and woman or woman and woman is unconstitutional and struck down. Sex with animal will however remain criminal. 

* Judgment in Suresh Kumar Koushal overruled.

 In a historic judgement, SC repeals Section 377 of the IPC, decriminalises consensual gay sex.

* The provision of IPC had resulted in collateral effect in that consensual sex between LGBT person is criminalised and is violative of Article 14, Supreme Court.

* Sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of Freedom of Expression, Supreme Court.

* Homosexuality is not a crime: CJI

* LGBT community has the same rights like other members of society, says CJI

* Sustenance of identity is the pyramid of life, observes CJI Dipak Misra

* No one can escape from their individualism. Society is now better for individualism. In the present case, our deliberations will be on various spectrums: SC

* SC starts delivering judgement on validity of Section 377

* Four opinions, all concurring judgments, says CJI Dipak Misra

* The judgment will be delivered by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

* Bench assembles, pronouncement of judgment commences.

* Supporting the gay community Congress party took to Twitter saying, "Haters gonna hate. Hang in there and have hope."

* While the apex court is likely to announce the verdict shortly, here's a read on What is Section 377? All you need to know 

* Taking to Twitter, actress Dia Mirza said, "May today be the beginning of EQUAL  rights... #Section377 #Section377Verdict"

* The judges in the case had previously said that gay people in India face deep-rooted trauma and live in fear.

* Anwesh Pokkuluri, another petitioner, said, "Based on how the proceedings have gone, we do not see how they can uphold (the ban)."

* As the nation awaits the verdict by the Supreme Court, one of the petitioners in the case Akhilesh Godi said, "The mood is extremely optimistic, the judges have been extremely empathetic. It is not only about decriminalising but recognising our fundamental rights."

* CJI Deepak Mishra and Justice DV Chandrachud will give their separate judgments.

* The verdict is likely to pronounce its verdict at around 11:30 am.

* A five-bench judge, headed by CJI Deepak Mishra will sit for deciding the verdict 10.30 am.

The issue of section 377 was first raised by an NGO, Naaz Foundation, which had in 2001 approached the Delhi High Court that had decriminalised sex between consenting adults of the same gender by holding the penal provision "illegal".

Although the Delhi High Court had struck down the provision in 2009, it was revived by the Supreme Court in 2013 in a widely criticised judgment by a Division Bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice S J Mukhopadhyaya. However, the issue resurrected in July 2016, when a fresh petition filed.

The five-judge bench on July 10 had made it clear that it was not going into the curative petitions and would adjudicate on fresh writ petitions in the matter.

"Social stigma will go if criminality of gay sex under Section 377 goes. Once the criminality (under section 377) goes, then everything will go (all the bars, social stigma and others)," said the bench headed by CJI Deepak Misra, which also comprised Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

Observing that an environment has been created in the Indian society over the years that has led to deep-rooted discrimination against the community, the bench had said discrimination against such people has also adversely impacted their mental health.

The writ petitions were opposed by the Apostolic Alliance of Churches, Utkal Christian Association and some other NGOs and individuals including Suresh Kumar Kaushal who had also challenged the 2009 verdict of the high court in the apex court.

LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community faced the stigma because of the criminality attached to consensual same-sex relationship, the bench had said.

The Central government had left it to the apex court to test the constitutional validity of section 377 of the IPC which criminalises "consensual acts of adults in private", urging that issues like gay marriages, adoption and ancillary civil rights of LGBTQ should not be dealt by it.

Taking note of the Centre's submission that other issues like gay marriages, adoption and ancillary civil rights of LGBTQ community should not be dealt, the court said it was not considering all these issues.

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