New Delhi, Sep 6: In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday pronounced that any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults, homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians "cannot" be a criminal offence.
A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, unanimously lifted the ban on homosexuality, which was imposed since colonial-era. The others Judges of the bench included -- Justices DY Chandrachud, Rohinton Fali Nariman, AM Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra.
In the landmark verdict, the Supreme Court scrapped the controversial Section 377- a 158-year-old colonial law on consensual gay sex. The Supreme Court reversed its own decision and said Section 377 is irrational and arbitary. "LGBT Community has same rights as of any ordinary citizen. Respect for each others rights, and others are supreme humanity. Criminalising gay sex is irrational and indefensible," said Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who headed the five judge bench hearing the case.
The Delhi High Court had on July 2009 held that sex between two consenting adults would "not be" an offence. Later on, a two-judge bench of the apex court, had set aside the Delhi High Court verdict and "criminalised" gay sex. The apex court also had subsequently dismissed the review petition in this regard.
Later, the apex court in a nine-judge bench had held that privacy was a fundamental right. After that many petitions were filed seeking decriminalising the gay sex, to which SC agreed to hear the petitions.
The apex court had on July 17 reserved its order after hearing in detail the arguments from various parties, petitioners and respondents on the issue of homosexuality. UNI