Supreme Court reserves order on Section 377

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday has reserved its verdict on pleas challenging the constitutional validity of section 377 of Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra concluded hearing the arguments on the controversial issue after detailed hearing of four days, which had started on 10th July.

The bench, also comprising Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, asked the parties to file written submissions in support of their claims by July 20.

On July 12, the Centre had told the apex court that it would leave it to the wisdom of its judges to decide the constitutional validity of Section 377.

Reportedly, the verdict is likely to be pronounced before October 2 as Justice Misra would be retiring as CJI on that day.

The notion was put forth by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the Centre before the five-judge constitution bench of the top court.

Earlier in 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised Section 377, but the order was later set aside by a Supreme Court bench.

Section 377 deals with “unnatural offences,” and holds “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

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