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India's SC agrees to consider curative plea on homosexuality ruling in open court

Publication Date : 04-04-2014

 

The Supreme Court of India has agreed to consider the plea for an open court hearing on curative petitions filed by gay rights activists against its verdict criminalising homosexuality.

A curative petition is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court and it is normally considered by judges in-chamber without granting opportunity to parties to argue the case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said it would go through the documents and consider their plea.

The petitioners, including NGO Naz Foundation which has been spearheading the legal battle on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, contended that there was an error in the judgment delivered on December 11 last year as it was based on old law.

“The judgment was reserved on 27 March 2012 but the verdict was delivered after around 21 months and during this period lots of changes took place including amendment in laws which were not considered by the bench which delivered the judgement,” senior advocate Ashok Desai told the bench.

Senior advocates Harish Salve, Mukul Rohatgi, Anand Grover and other lawyers also supported Desai and pleaded for an open court hearing. They submitted that the case should have been heard by a Constitution bench instead of a two-judge bench which heard and delivered the verdict on the controversial issue.

The SC had earlier dismissed a batch of review petitions filed by the Centre and gay rights activists, including filmmaker Shyam Benegal, against its December 2013 verdict declaring gay sex an offence punishable up to life imprisonment.

The court had said it did not see any reason to interfere with the December 11, 2013, verdict and had also rejected the plea for oral hearing on the review petitions which are normally decided by judges in chamber without giving an opportunity to parties to present their views.

The court had December 11, 2013 set aside the Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising gay sex and thrown the ball in Parliament’s court for amending the law. The judgment revived the penal provision making gay sex an offence punishable with jail for life.

 

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