|Courts & Tribunals
On 01 October 2018, Justice Najmi Waziri in the High Court granted the petition of two women, aged 20 and 21, seeking police protection. The women said they apprehend threat to life, liberty and security from their respective disapproving parents as they have been in a romantic relationship for around one-and-a half year and wish to live together as a same-sex couple. They have fled from their native place in Rajasthan and have come to reside in Delhi [R2.42].
On 27 September 2018, the Allahabad High Court reportedly dismissed a petition for police security cover by a gay couple citing a threat to their lives from their own parents who opposed their union. Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Mukhtar Ahmed refused the couple’s request reportedly saying ”We cannot interfere in this matter since it is a ‘social problem’ [R2.41].
On 06 September 2018, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that consensual adult gay sex is not a crime saying sexual orientation is natural and people have no control over it. Now, it is no longer an offence under Section 377 to engage in consensual gay sex in private [C2.40], [R2.39].
On 17 July 2018, a five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices R F Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, reserved its verdict on a clutch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 of Indian Penal Court which criminalises consensual gay sex [R2.38].
On 09 July 2018, the Supreme Court refused to adjourn Tuesday’s proposed hearing by a five-judge Constitution bench on a batch of petitions challenging its verdict that had re-criminalised consensual carnal sex between two adults [R2.37].
On 06 July 2018, it was reported that on Tuesday 10 July the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court will hear petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexuality [R2.36].
On 08 January 2018, the Supreme Court reportedly announced that a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud will review a ruling four years ago upholding the constitutional validity of a penal code that criminalizes same-sex relations between consenting adults, saying the ”case requires reconsideration” [R2.35].
On 29 June 2016, a two-judge bench led by justice S.A. Bobde heard a fresh petition filed by Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Navtej Singh Johar, 57, and others seeking to decriminalise consensual same-sex intercourse between adults and referred the matter to chief justice T.S. Thakur to decide whether it and the pending curative petitions challenging Section 377 can be tagged together and heard by the constitution bench [R2.34].
On 29 January 2016, it was reported that starting 02 February, the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur would hear a curative petition in an unprecedented open-court reconsideration of a controversial ruling by it that upheld the validity of a Victorian-era law that makes homosexuality illegal [R2.33].
On 19 June 2014, in possibly the first case in the country after the Supreme Court upheld Section 377 of the Penal Code, making gay sex a punishable offence, it was reported that Bangalore Police had charged seven youths under the Section in a homosexual encounter extortion case [R2.32].
On 21 April 2014, the Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and M.V. Ramana told senior counsel Anand Grover appearing for the NGO, Naz Foundation, that the Court agreed to keep in mind its ruling on transgender rights when it takes up a curative petition tomorrow seeking a review of its order prohibiting any form of gay or unnatural sex [R2.31].
On 21 April 2014, the Naz Foundation applied to the Chief Justice to request that when on Tuesday he decides whether the Koushal judgment [upholding Section 377 of the Criminal Code that criminalizes consensual gay sex] should be reopened and an open hearing should be granted or not, he takes into consideration the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgment [creating legal rights for transgender people] – see Gender Identity [R2.30].
On 03 April 2014, the Supreme Court agreed to consider an open court hearing of curative petitions, filed by gay rights activists against its verdict on criminalising homosexuality [R2.29].
On 28 January 2014, Justices H. L. Dattu and S.J. Mukhopadhaya held that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalizing gay sex did not suffer from any constitutional infirmity and said there were no grounds to interfere with the order [C2.28], [R2.27].
On 20 December 2013, the government filed a petition for review of the Section 377 decision in the Supreme Court. The court is expected to take up the review petition soon [R2.26].
On 11 December 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the 2009 judgment of the Delhi High Court reinstating Section 377 of the Penal Code making homosexuality unlawful [C2.25], [R2.24].
On 27 March 2012, Supreme Court justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya delayed their judgment on an appeal of the Delhi High Court verdict which decriminalised gay sex until a later date [R2.23].
On 20 March 2012, Attorney General G E Vahanvati informed the Supreme Court that the Indian government insists that it supports the Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalize gay sex [R2.22].
On 05 January 2012, magistrate UK Aher in the Girgaum magistrate’s court, rejected a discharge application filed by a man booked for having ‘unnatural sex’ with another man, despite the 2009 Delhi high court having read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that defines “unnatural sex”, ruling that consensual gay sex between adults was not an offence [R2.21].
On 08 November 2011, the Supreme Court deferred its hearing on the issue of decriminalisation of gay sex among consenting adults in private and listed the case for a final hearing in February 2012 [R2.20].
On 29 August 2011, Justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu adjourned the hearing on the issue of legalisation and decriminalisation of gay sex among consenting adults in private by ten weeks [R2.19].
On 19 April 2011, the Supreme Court deferred its hearing of petitions about the landmark decision of the Delhi high court that decriminalized gay sex in 2009 [R2.18].
On 07 February 2011, the Supreme Court dismissed an application to make the armed forces a party to the petitions supporting and opposing the Delhi high court’s ruling which decriminalised homosexual acts between two consenting adults in private [R2.17]. The Court said it would hear 19 interventions – four petitions approve the 2009 Delhi High Court order and 15 oppose it [R2.16].
On 07 February 2011, the Supreme Court comprising Justice GS Singhvi and Justice AK Ganguly were to hear petitions filed by gay rights activists and political, social and religious organisations who have opposed the Delhi high court verdict decriminalising homosexual behaviour [R2.15].
On 01 April 2010, the Allahabad High Court in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh revoked a decision of the Aligarh Muslim University that suspended Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, chairman of the school’s modern languages department, who was caught in a gay sex sting in February [R2.14].
In February 2010, there were reported to be a total 16 groups challenging the July 2 Delhi High Court order decriminalizing gay sex, in the Supreme Court [R2.13].
In January 2010, the Supreme Court was expected to give a final ruling on repealing the ban on gay sex next month [R2.12].
On 20 July 2009, the Supreme Court declined to put a hold on the groundbreaking ruling of the Delhi High Court to decriminalize gay sex between consenting adults. Noting that there was “no threat of any consequences”, the court asked the government to make clear its stand on the issue within two months before it revisits the matter on September 14 [R2.11].
On 14 July 2009, the Supreme Court reportedly agreed to consider a petition against a lower court’s ruling that homosexuality should be decriminalised [R2.10].
On 09 July 2009, it was reported that Suresh Kaushal had filed a petition in the country’s supreme court asking for the British colonial-era law to be reinstated. Chief Justice K. Balakrishnan asked the government and campaign groups to respond to the petition [R2.9].
On 02 July 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled that “In the Indian Constitution, the right to live with dignity and the right of privacy both are recognised as dimensions of Article 21. Section 377 IPC denies a person’s dignity and criminalises his or her core identity solely on account of his or her sexuality and thus violates Article 21 of the Constitution. As it stands, Section 377 IPC denies a gay person a right to full personhood which is implicit in notion of life under Article 21 of the Constitution”. Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidahr said the ban violated fundamental human rights [C2.8], [R2.8].
The ruling only applies in New Delhi and can still be opposed by the government.
In October 2008, Chief Justice AP Shah of the Delhi High Court challenged argument put by additional solicitor general PP Malhotra that homosexuality is a disease [R2.7].
In September 2008, the government opposed a petition filed by gay rights activists asking the Delhi High Court to decriminalise homosexual acts between consenting adults [R2.6].
In July 2008, the Bombay High Court said that the controversial Section 377 of Indian Penal Code that deals with unnatural sex needs revision [R2.5].
In November 2004 the Delhi High Court upheld laws in the subcontinent making gay sex a criminal offence, dismissing the petition seeking review of the law [R2.4].
In January 2003, the New Delhi High Court Chief Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice B.D. Ahmed told the government to file an affidavit within four weeks making clear its stand in regard to the law that makes homosexual relations a crime [R2.3].
On 26 August 2002, India’s High Court refused to accept the state’s argument that changing the law is inappropriate because homosexuality goes against “the morality in society as a whole.” Saying that the issue “could not just be brushed aside,” the bench instructed the government to file its response to the petition by November 27, the third and last such deadline [R2.2].
In April 2002, the Government sort more time in Delhi High Court to file reply on a petition seeking legislation of homosexuality between consenting adults and consequent amendment to Section 377 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), which makes such a relationship a criminal offence [R2.1].