The Supreme Court on Wednesday, July 11 continued its hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Section 377 IPC, a colonial-era provision that criminalises private consensual sex between adults. Changing its earlier stand, the central government told the five-judge constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that it won’t contest Section 377 in relation to consensual sex between two adults. It further said that the Supreme Court is free to decide the constitutional validity of Section 377.

The change in Centre stand came a year after the apex court declared Right to Privacy as a fundamental right. In a short affidavit, the government told the court that it should decide only whether Section IPC 377 needed to be criminalised and no other issue.

In last year’s judgement on Right to Privacy, the Supreme Court said that rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population are real rights founded in the Constitution.

Even ruling party leaders have no uniform opinion on Section 377 of IPC. On the first day of the hearing, July 10, BJP MP Subramanian said, “It is not a normal thing. We cannot celebrate it. It’s against Hindutva. We should invest in medical research to see if it can be cured. The government should consider having a 7 or 9 judge bench.”

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