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Indian Supreme Court Agrees to Reconsider Same-Sex Sexual Activity Ban

by Ashley Fowler February 03, 2016


India’s Supreme Court has decided to reconsider its 2013 decision to re-criminalize consensual adult same-sex sexual acts. The decision to reopen the case was made following the submission of a curative petition. The Court has yet to set a hearing date.  

Section 377 of the penal code, a holdover from British colonial rule, criminalizes same-sex sexual relations and was ruled unconstitutional by the Delhi High Court, India’s second highest court, in 2009. But in 2013 the Supreme Court reversed that landmark decision and ruled that decriminalization was a matter to be taken up by the legislative branch and not by the judiciary.

Advocates and supporters of LGBT equality are hopeful that this new hearing will close the book on centuries of damaging criminalization and pave the way towards equality in India. With a population of over 1.2 billion, India is the largest country that continues to criminalize LGBT people. In the first year after the 2013 ruling, 600 people were reportedly arrested under Section 377.

In December 2015, a former minister and leading opposition Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor, introduced a bill to amend Section 377 to apply only to non-consensual same-sex acts and to remove the discriminatory language which declares same-sex relationships “unnatural.” However, the attempt to introduce the bill failed. Tharoor has vowed to reintroduce his bill again but this may be put on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

Same-sex activity is currently criminalized in 75 countries and punishable by death in up to 10 countries.Description: https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif





Ashley Fowler
Ashley Fowler

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