In a positive development in the fight for basic human rights, the Supreme Court on Tuesday referred the petition against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to a five-judge bench.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur referred the curative petition to the five judge bench as senior counsel Kapil Sibal said that the issue involved a question of far-reaching constitutional importance and must be heard by a five-judge bench.

The bench said that the larger bench would be constituted in the future. The bench was told there were eight curative petitions seeking re-examination of the order on the review petition and the 11 December, 2013 judgement by which the Delhi High Court verdict de-criminalising section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of the IPC was set aside.

Sibal, arguing for decriminalising section 377 of IPC, submitted that the issue concerns the “most private and the most precious” part of life, the right to sexuality within the four corners of your domain, which has been held as unconstitutional. “By this judgement, you have bound the present and future generations to dignity and stigma,” he submitted.

Here are some significant comments on the Supreme Court’s decision:

Anjali Gopalan, Naz Foundation to ANI: “They have accepted the petition that means they see some merit in it.”

Gautam Bhan, LGBT activist, to ANI: “Hopeful to yet again in a democratic set-up have a way to argue for our rights.”

Rituparna Borah, LGBT activist to ANI: “We’re very happy, now we can produce facts and evidences in a better way.” .

Hansal Mehta to Times Now: “We are hoping one wrong will be corrected, but there is a larger wrong, that’s society and its homophobia.”

Nandita Das to Times Now: “I am definitely against 377 and I hope better sense will prevail. I really hope this archaic law will go and people will be allowed to love. The British removed this law long ago and we are still hanging on to it.”

P Chidambaram to Times Now: “I am happy that an error is being corrected. This is only the first step. I look forward to the day when the SC will uphold the judgement of the Delhi High Court.”

With inputs from agencies

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‘Hope people will be allowed to love’: From Nandita Das to P Chidambaram here’s who said what on SC’s move to reopen Section 377 debate