India will not contest petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 that criminalises homosexuality and will leave it to the wisdom of the Supreme Court as long as it applies to “consensual acts of adults in private”.
If the case also involves other rights and issues of the LGBTQ community such as marriage, adoption, and inheritance, the government would like to contest on those points, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said while filing the government’s affidavit in the court. Such rights, if granted, will have consequences which are neither contemplated in the reference nor required to be answered by the Supreme Court, it said.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra—and comprising Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra—is hearing petitions against the colonial era law. They stem from the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling that re-criminalised homosexuality, overturning Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgement that had held Section 377 “illegal”.
Among the petitioners are Keshav Suri, the executive director of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group; and the Naz Foundation that works in HIV and sexual health.
Watch this conversation with Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on where he sees this case headed.