Is homosexuality crime? Centre says it will ‘leave decision to wisdom of SC’


New Delhi: The Centre today put the onus of deciding the fate of Section 377 on the Supreme Court.

“We leave it to the wisdom of the court,” Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who’s appearing for the Centre, told the Supreme Court.

On Monday, the apex court began hearing petitions under the provision that criminalises homosexuality.

The senior most judges are hearing a bunch of petitions that call for scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a British-era law that prescribes life term in jail for gay sex.

Replying to ASG Tushar Mehta, on the day 2 of the hearing today, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said: “So you are leaving it to our wisdom whether 377 deals with crime and whether it should be as a crime or not we will deal with it?”

During the hearing on Tuesday, before a bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhorta, clear signals emerges in favour of decriminalising Section 377 of IPC.

The bench said it would only examine the “correctness” of its verdict of 2013 cancelling a Delhi High Court judgment that said the law criminalising gay sex was “unconstitutional”.

In May, the apex court decided to hear the plea filed by Indian Institute of Technology’s LGBT alumni association seeking scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Earlier, in April, Ashok Rao Kavi of Humsafar Trust and Arif Jaffar also filed petitions against Section 377.