The Supreme Court, during Thursday's hearing, stated that social stigma and discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community will go once consensual gay sex is decriminalised.
The five-judge bench asked lawyer Maneka Guruswamy whether there was any law, rule, regulation or guideline that denied homosexuals any rights that were granted to others. When the lawyer replied in negative, the bench said that the LGBTQ community faced the stigma due to the criminality of the consensual same-sex relationship.
"Once the criminality (under Section 377) goes, then everything will go" the bench said.
It may be mentioned here that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, dating back to 1861, was introduced during the British rule of India and criminalizes sexual activities "against the order of nature", including homosexual activities.
The apex court said that it will only test the constitutional validity of section 377 and not discuss issues like gay marriages, adoption and ancillary civil rights of LGBTQ community.
The five-judge bench comprises of the Chief Justice India Dipak Misra, Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.