The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to re-examine its own verdict criminalising gay sex in India by referring the matter to a five-judge Constitution bench.
The petition was filed by an NGO, which had sought the apex court to reverse the its judgment on Section 377, which makes gay sex a criminal offence.
The court also assured the petitioner that curative petitions for de-criminalising homosexuality would be listed at an early date.
Kapil Sibal, who was arguing against Section 377, told the court that banning gay sex would lead present and future generations to indignity and stigma.
Christian church body and Muslim Personal Law Board have opposed the petitions against Section 377.
A curative petition is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court which is normally decided by judges in-chamber. In rare cases, such petitions are given an open court hearing.
The petitioners, including the NGO Naz Foundation, which has been spearheading the legal battle on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community, contended that there was an error in the judgement delivered on 11 December, as it was based on an old law.
The petitioners’ plea stated, “The judgement was reserved on March 27, 2012 but the verdict was delivered after around 21 months and during this period lots of changes took place including amendment in laws which were not considered by the bench which delivered the judgement.”
The activists have argued that banning gay sex often leads to their exploitation as they are often vulnerable to being blackmailing and even suicide.
Those supporting the ban have described the same-sex relationship as unnatural.