Supreme Court Allows Draconian 'Religious Freedom' Law To Stand

Supreme Court Allows Draconian 'Religious Freedom' Law To Stand

Supreme Court Allows Draconian 'Religious Freedom' Law To Stand

The court on Monday said it would refer the question of the validity of section 377 of the Indian penal code to a larger bench for examination before October this year.

Reopening the debate on Indian Penal Code's Article 377, the three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by CJI Dipak Misra said, "it would reconsider and examine the Constitutional validity of section 377". "Any decision that the Supreme Court takes in sync with the jurisprudential developments on gay rights the world over would be welcome", BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said.

The ban on homosexual sex was overturned by the Delhi high court in 2009 but was reinstated by the supreme court four years later in a judgment that drew widespread condemnation, including from the United Nations. While prosecutions under section 377 have been rare, activists have said that the police used the law to harass and intimidate members of the LGBT community.

Senior lawyer Harish Salve on Monday said that section 377 of IPC will soon be struck down by the apex court.

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The Supreme Court also mentioned to a Constitutional bench the petition seeking to decriminalize consensual sex between LGBTQ adults. It was also on the side of respecting the freedom of individuals to their sexual orientation. In addition to the advocacy and discussion that followed that setback, subsequent rulings in favor of transgender equality and, most recently, establishing privacy as a fundamental right have help set the stage for the Court to revisit the law.

The justices left in place a June ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals that the plaintiffs - same-sex couples, civil rights advocates including the head of the state NAACP chapter, a church and others - did not have legal standing to bring the lawsuit.

The law was thought to be vulnerable to legal challenge since a landmark September judgment that recognised article 21 guaranteed a right to privacy.

The U.S. Supreme Court left intact a MS law that lets businesses and government workers refuse on religious grounds to provide services to gay and transgender people. It also asked to include them in the OBC quota. "The people of Mississippi have the right to ensure that all of our citizens are free to peacefully live and work without fear of being punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs", Bryant said, according to Mississippi Today.

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