NEW DELHI — A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Rohinton Fali Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, is expected to deliver its verdict on Thursday on the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era provision that criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature” — widely interpreted to criminalise homosexuality.
Civil liberties activists and rights groups are cautiously optimistic that the verdict will be in their favour, given that a 2017 Supreme Court ruling on the right to privacy that held that
“discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual. Equality demands that the sexual orientation of each individual in society must be protected on an even platform. The right to privacy and the protection of sexual orientation lie at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.”
The battle to decriminalise homosexuality in India has trod a long and twisted path.
In the Naz Foundation judgement of 2009, the Delhi Court read down Section 377 — sparking relief and celebrations — only for a division bench of the Supreme Court to overturn this judgement in the Suresh Kumar Koushal case in 2013.
The verdict is expected in the first half of tomorrow. HuffPost India will update this story as it evolves.