New Delhi: In December 2013, the Supreme Court passed a judgement upholding the penal code’s Section 377 which criminalized homosexuality in India. On 2nd February 2016, more than two years later, the SC will conduct an open hearing of the curative petition.
The petition was filed by Naz Foundation and filmmaker Shyam Benegal, parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons, academicians, mental healthcare professionals, and Voices Against 377 — an umbrella of NGOs.
A curative petition is the final appeal available against the original verdict. On February 2nd, a bench of five judges will begin hearing the petition. If all of the judges conclude that the case merits re-appreciation of the facts of the case, the bench will then issue notice to Suresh Koushal on whose pleading the Supreme Court had revived section 377 IPC.
The petition is now likely to be heard by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and two seniormost judges, Justices A.R. Dave and J.S. Khehar. The names of the other judges likely to be on the bench are not known.
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, prohibits unnatural sex. However, in 2009, the Delhi High Court had struck down the provision stating that it violated an individual’s privacy and right to equal treatment before law.
On December 11, 2013, the apex court had ruled that gay sex was a criminal offence which could entail a punishment of 10 years to life in prison. The court had ruled that the Centre was free to delete Section 377, however, the government did not take any step.