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SC to put HC order on gay sex to the test on April 19

in INDIA, 08/02/2011

The Supreme Court said it would start the process to test the constitutional validity of Delhi HC's decision to decriminalize same gender consensual sex between adults on April 19.

A bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly issued notices on over a dozen petitions and applications challenging the HC's July 2, 2009 verdict, which said police could not arrest adult members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-sexual) community under Section 377 of IPC.

However, it rejected one Suresh Kumar Koushal's plea to include the Army, Navy and IAF as parties. Koushal claimed the armed forces had clarified that they would not legalize same-gender sexual relationship on the ground that soldiers were routinely posted in remote areas and such permission could tell upon its preparedness.

The court clarified, "The issue raised in the petitions is in the nature of public interest. It is a pure question of law and interpretation of various provisions of the Constitution as well as the Indian Penal Code."

To fast-track the hearing and cut out lengthy arguments from counsel on the issue, it asked all parties to file their written submissions within eight weeks and ordered the registry to ensure notices reaching respondents. The court had earlier entertained a host of appeals against the HC verdict but refused to grant interim stay on its operation.

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