The Supreme Court said that a large group of judges would re-consider and examine the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the law which criminalizes sexual relationship against the law of nature.
In December 2013, the Supreme Court overturned a high court verdict that had set aside a law framed in 1860 and decriminalized consensual sex among adult homosexual men.
The Mississippi Center for Justice and Lambda Legal joined civil-rights attorney Rob McDuff of Jackson in filing the appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of 11 individuals, while the Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church and Campaign for Southern Equality appealed the law's constitutionality. But, with the apex court deciding to revisit its decision on Monday, there is a renewed hope among the members of the LGBT community.
The Supreme Court says it will not take up a challenge to a MS law that allows businesses and government officials to deny services to LGBT people if doing so would conflict with certain "sincerely held" religious beliefs. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality.
Section 377 of IPC, came into force in 1862 - defines unnatural offences. The apex court had concluded that privacy included at its core the preservation of personal intimacies and that sexual orientation was an essential attribute of privacy.
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"We will keep fighting in MS until we overturn this harmful law, and in any state where anti-gay legislators pass laws to roll back LGBT civil rights", said Beth Littrell of Lambda Legal, a public interest law practice representing the plaintiffs. The SC decision will definitely strengthen arguments for decriminalisation of homosexuality. "Choice can't be allowed to cross boundaries of law but confines of law can't trample or curtail the inherent right embedded in an individual under Art 21 of Constitution", the bench observed.
SC has also issues notice to the Centre seeking response on a writ petition filed by five members of LGBT community, who say they live in fear of Police due to their natural sexual preferences, according to new agency ANI. "Because of that, we are pleased that the Supreme Court declined to take up these baseless challenges, which misrepresented the law's sole goal of ensuring that Mississippians don't live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union".
All India Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev also welcomed the top court's decision saying,"Everybody has equal right to live life the way they want".
"What is natural to one may not be natural to others", the judges said.
What's the Supreme Court verdict on transgenders? It also asked the Centre to include them in the OBC quota.