thursday, 30 june of 2016

India Supreme Court refers decision on challenge to homosexuality ban to Chief Justice

Two justices of the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday declined to rule on a petition challenging the constitutionality of the country's law prohibiting sex between consenting adults of the same sex. The petitioners, several prominent LGBT celebrities, had argued that their lives had been inexorably constricted and their rights infringed by Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which provides for punishment including life imprisonment for "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal." Justices Sharad Bobde and Ashok Bhushan deferred judgment on the petition and referred the case to Chief Justice T.S. Thakur to determine whether a five member panel should consider the petition. Thakur is currently considering a similar petition against Section 377 filed by the Naz Foundation, who successfully challenged Section 377 in the landmark 2009 case Naz Foundation v. Government of Dehli at the Delhi High Court. The High Court's decision was reversed and Section 377's constitutionality upheld by the Supreme Court in December 2013.

The lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community (LGBT) continues to face legal challenges throughout the world. Last December voters in Slovenia rejected a law that would allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. In November the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled that same-sex couples can legally adopt children. The UN has become increasingly focused on the rights of LGBT individuals. In September 2015, 12 UN agencies released a joint statement arguing that abuses toward the LGBT population are human rights abuses impacting society as a whole. In June 2015, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that members of the LGBT community continue to face discrimination and human rights abuses.

(Published by Jurist – June 29, 2016)

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