‘Retract Section 377’
After the controversial upholding of a law earlier this month, criminalizing gay sex in India, the country’s government has now filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking it to review the ruling.
The law, known simply as Section 377, was initially passed in 1860 meaning anybody who committed gay sex could face life imprisonment.
The extremely harsh ruling was eliminated in 2009 after the Delhi High Court ruled that a section of the penal code prohibiting ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ was an infringement of fundamental rights.
However, earlier this month, on the 11th December, a panel of two Supreme Court Judges ruled that the High Court did not have the power to make such a ruling and in turn reinstated the ‘archaic’ section 377.
The government on Friday, asked in its plea for the top court to reconsider the judgement which was handed down, saying it believed the ruling was in ‘violation of the principle of equality’.
The Congress-led government told the court in its so-called ‘review petition’ that it wanted an ‘open hearing on the matter’.
Adding: “The position of the central government on this issue has been that the Delhi High Court verdict... is correct.”
The 2009 High Court ruling was strongly opposed by religious groups, particularly leaders of India's Muslim and Christian communities, who appealed to the Supreme Court.
Following the Supreme Court decision which triggered wide shock and protests, Law Minister Kapil Sibal had pledged the government would take ‘firm and quick action’ to alter what he called an anachronistic law.
The Supreme Court will now consider the merits of the government's request and decide whether to re-examine the judgement.