The ruling to reinstate the colonial-era law, Section 377, which criminalizes consensual sex between two men, went under review by the Supreme Court on Friday, December 20.
The petition to review came in after the Supreme Court ruled on December 11 to reverse the Dehli high court’s 2009 striking down of Section 377, which declared that the criminalization of gay sex was a violation of human rights.
The review petition called the reinstatement of a law which criminalizes sex between two consenting adult men “unsustainable.” Attorney General G. E. Vahavati requested that verbal arguments be heard before a court.
The review petition filed by advocate Devdutt Kamath disputes the ruling on seventy-six counts; it states that the December 11 ruling “suffers from errors apparent on the face of the record, and is contrary to well-established principles of law laid down by this court enunciating the width and ambit of Fundamental Rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution,” according to the Times of India.
The reinstatement of Section 377 has dramatically set back the equality movement in India and disrupts the lives of thousands of individuals who are in same-sex relationships.
In 2009, sex between two consenting adults of the same sex was decriminalized, and since then, LGBT people have been able to live a life with more freedom. The court’s sudden ruling will reverse this freedom under the harshest of terms—where lawbreakers could be punished by life in prison.
The bench Justices that reinstated Section 377 said that their decision “does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality.”
Justice Singhvi stated, “It is relevant to mention here that Section 377 IPC does not criminalize a particular people or identity or orientation. It merely identifies certain acts, which if committed, would constitute an offence. Such prohibition regulates sexual conduct regardless of gender identity and orientation.”
The illogical reasoning of this statement is blaring; regardless, it seems to stand as the basis for this ruling.