Hotelier moves SC against Section 377

New Delhi [India]: Top businessman and the executive director of Lalit Hotels, Keshav Suri, has filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking to quash Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises homosexuality.

Suri, who himself is part of the LGBTQ community, knocked the doors of the apex court through his lawyer Mukul Rohatgi and others.

The apex court is likely to take up the matter on Monday (April 23).

Suri, in his petition, a copy exclusively accessed by ANI, has said that he constantly lives under the threat of a false prosecution, and is, therefore, unable to live a life of dignity whereby he can exercise his choice to have sexual relations with his partner whom he has been with for a decade now.

“Owing to Section 377 of the IPC continuing on the statute book, various adult and consenting members of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Queer) community continue to face the threat of a false prosecution and some are actually facing it,” Suri’s petition claimed.

Suri urged the apex court to pass an order restraining the respondent (Union of India) from taking coercive action against initiatives that promote equal opportunities for people with alternative sexual orientation pending for final hearing and disposal of the present writ petition.

The petitioner also stated that members of the LGBT community are ridiculed in various spheres of life, and equal work opportunities and pay are not given to them.

Suri filed the writ petition under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, seeking a direction to declare that the right to choice of sexual orientation is a fundamental right enshrined in part – III of the Constitution of India.

A top court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud heard the plea.

Suri’s petition is the latest to add to a list of PILs filed in the Supreme Court against Section 377.

Earlier in 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised Section 377, but the order was later set aside by a Supreme-Court bench.

Categorised as an unnatural offence, consensual sexual intercourse between persons of same sex is termed ‘against the order of nature’ under Section 377 of the IPC, and can be punishable by life imprisonment. (ANI)