SC to revisit judgment on Article 377, seeks Centre's response

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"Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality".

The Supreme Court also mentioned to a Constitutional bench the petition seeking to decriminalize consensual sex between LGBTQ adults.

The court said that people who exercise their choice should not live in fear.

Earlier in 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised Section 377, but the order was later set aside by a Supreme-Court bench. The judgment said, "We hold that Section 377 does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and the declaration made by the division bench of the High Court is legally unsustainable".

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In August 2017, the Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict, declared right to privacy a fundamental right, ushering in hope for the gay and LGBT community. A federal appeals court said the opponents hadn't suffered any injury that would let them press their claims in court.

A law in MS called the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, enacted in April 2016, notes that the state cannot punish citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions who oppose same-sex marriage, homosexuality and transgender rights. But lower courts, without ruling on the merits of the law, said those suing could not show that they would be harmed by it. Commenting on the SC's December 2013 judgment, a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said it upholds the validity of Section 377, which clears sexual intercourse between consenting adults of the same gender is a crime that considers hurting the sexual preferences of individuals.

The law, passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and signed by Republican Governor Phillip Bryant with the backing of conservative Christian activists, has not yet been implemented and more legal challenges are expected, according to gay rights lawyers. A promising sign, the Court also asked the government to respond to a petition from five LGBTQ people who said they live in fear of police due to their identities.

The Supreme Court did not state why it did not take up the case. It also includes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. Underlining the need to bring them into the mainstream, the verdict by a bench of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri said transgenders should have all rights under the law, including marriage, adoption, divorce, succession, and inheritance.

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