New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Supreme Court of India on Monday said it will re-examine its earlier decision on homosexuality that rendered homosexual acts punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The decision to reconsider the earlier order was taken by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and two other judges following a petition filed by a consortium of gay, lesbian, and bisexual citizens who say they are living in fear of being prosecuted.
This is the second time that the Supreme Court of India has considered its stand on section 377. In 2013, it overturned a 2009 judgment pronounced by the Delhi High Court which had termed this section of Indian Penal Code unconstitutional.
The high court had contended that amending or repealing the law should be left to the Parliament, not the judiciary. Later, in June 2016, a bench headed by the then chief justice of Indian TS Thakur had agreed to hear a curative writ petition. However, the bench to hear the petition has still not been set up by the court. Now, a five-judge constitution bench will have to be constituted to hear the case afresh.
"We think it appropriate to send this issue to a larger bench," the three-judge bench said on Monday.
India's main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, has welcomed the decision and said that section 377 does not have a place in modern India.
— All India Mahila Congress (@MahilaCongress) January 8, 2018
— Geetika Swami (@SwamiGeetika) January 8, 2018