News Brief: Supreme Court of India Set to Revisit Law Criminalizing Homosexuality

by Aaron Shepard
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News Brief Supreme Court of India Set to Revisit Law Criminalizing Homosexuality

News Brief Supreme Court of India Set to Revisit Law Criminalizing Homosexuality

News Brief:  Supreme Court of India Set to Revisit Law Criminalizing Homosexuality

Section 377 of the Indian penal code, which outlaws sex between men, will be re-examined by the Indian Supreme court to determine it’s validity.  The court announced Monday, January 8th that Section 377, which was modeled on 16th-century British laws, would be examined at point prior to October 2018.

The colonial-era law bans “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal,” and carries a potential for life imprisonment.

The decision to re-examine the law comes as the court determined less than 200 people had been convicted for homosexual acts in 2013.

Activists say that the law is more commonly used for convicting those who carried out sexual offences against children with approximately 1,347 cases taking place in 2015.  In addition, they say that the section is being used primarily to blackmail and intimidate LGBTQ Indians while preventing access to healthcare for HIV/AIDS.

The ban on homosexual sex was eradicated in 2009 in Delhi high court; however, the Supreme Court reinstated it four years later.  The retraction was considered largely controversial because of Article 21, which guaranteed the right to privacy.

The court said, “A section of people or individuals, who exercise their choice, should never remain in a state of fear.  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 article 21 of constitution.”

The decision to reinforce the law was met with international criticism, causing India to face condemnation from a number of major establishments, including the United Nations.  With that being said, the decision to revisit the ruling is believed by experts to be a positive thing.  Anand Grover, a senior lawyer in the country, said that the challenge had “no choice but to succeed.”