US Supreme Court rejects challenge to MS law curbing LGBT rights

Randolph Lopez
January 9, 2018

Section 377 criminalises sexual acts "against the order of nature" and has undergone many twists and turns ever since the Delhi High Court decriminalised it in 2009.

The decision of the apex court came during a hearing of a plea filed by LGBT community. "You can't put in jail two adults who are involved in consenting unnatural sex", Datar said and referred to a recent nine-judge bench judgment in the privacy matter to highlight the point that the right to choose a sexual partner was part of fundamental right.

The Congress on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court decision to re-examine its 2013 order that criminalises gay sex saying the archaic provision should be repealed from the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality.

The Supreme Court is refusing to hear challenges to a MS law that allows businesses and government employees to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs.

The bench, which also included Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench a petition filed against the apex court's 2013 verdict by Navtej Singh Johar, a Sangeet Natak Akademi award-winning Bharatnatyam dancer, and three others seeking a declaration that Section 377 of the IPC is unconstitutional as it penalises adults for indulging in consensual gay sex.

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The HC held that the Section 377 denied dignity to an individual and criminalised their core identity on the basis of their sexuality adding that it also violated Article 14 by targeting homosexuals as a class. "We are asking for constitutional rights given to any citizen in the country", said Koninika Roy from the Humsafar Trust that works with LGBT community.

A law in MS called the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, enacted in April 2016, notes that the state cannot punish citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions who oppose same-sex marriage, homosexuality and transgender rights.

The denial marks the third time this term that the high court ducked a gay rights challenge. A promising sign, the Court also asked the government to respond to a petition from five LGBTQ people who said they live in fear of police due to their identities. The petitioners said they live in constant fear of police action due to their sexual preferences.

The Supreme Court did not state why it did not take up the case. "We think it appropriate to send this issue to a larger bench", they said.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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