Live proceedings of court need of the hour, says Supreme Court

An LGBT pride parade in New Delhi

An LGBT pride parade in New Delhi

However, the Centre on Tuesday made clear that the court should decide only whether Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) needed to be decriminalised and no other issue.

For the first time, a few well-known gay individuals, a hotelier, a famous chef, and a classical dancer, are slated to give personal accounts of how the 1861 law has ruined their lives, thrust shame on them, and directly affected their chances of happiness.

"It will not be adjourned", the bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said.

During the pendency of the curative petitions, the plea was made that an open court hearing should be granted and after the apex court agreed to it, several fresh writ petitions were filed seeking to decriminalise of Section 377. Was it the order of nature in 1860?

Hearing the plea by the five petitioners on 8 January, the court referred the matter to a constitution bench.

At the outset, the court said it would only deal with the question of validity of section 377 that bans homosexuality after it was submitted by a petitioner that it should not restrict the hearing to just this IPC provision. "Those are individual issues we can not pre-judge now", Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi argued for scrapping of Section 377 which criminalises homosexuality and punishes "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal", with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term extending to ten years.

Once it decriminalises Section 377, "discrimination faced by the LGBT community in employment and in choice of vocation will vanish", said the apex court. The apex court yesterday refused to delay today's hearing after the Centre requested for more time to file its response to the petitions.

He explained the impact of the supreme court overturning the 2009 ruling, saying: "We got calls from parents, concerned about what would happen to their children".

They have also argued that right to sexuality and the right to choice of a sexual partner are fundamental rights protected under Article 21 of the Constitution and have questioned whether section 377 is unconstitutional and violative of the Constitution and hence be struck down. Suppose your partner tries to sue you for some kind of right. or, say, file a case under the domestic violence act. such issues will be debated when a lis (issue) comes to court.

And just previous year, the court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by India's constitution.

"I want to be able to make sure that every citizen in this country has the right to choose their sexual orientation as a consenting adult".

The arguments would resume on Wednesday.

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