The Supreme Court on February 2 will have an open-court hearing on a curative petition against its decision to uphold a law that makes sex acts frequently practised by homosexuals illegal. The court had reversed an older high court order and upheld Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in 2013, which penalises various kinds of intercourse described as "against the order of nature" with up to 10 years in prison.
A series of petitions challenging the order have been filed by activists and NGOs, including Voices Against 377, and the main curative petition filed by NGO Naz Foundation. A curative petition is a final appeal available against an original verdict. A review petition filed by Naz Foundation had been dismissed, which led them to file a curative petition. Curative petitions are usually heard in the judge’s chambers, but this hearing will take place in an open court. It will be heard by a bench led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur.
The top court in December 2013 had dismissed a High Court ruling which decriminalised "unnatural" sex, and said the law needed to be changed by Parliament. Section 377 dates back to the 1800s and was introduced during British rule in India. It criminalises anal and oral sex, referring to unnatural sex as “against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”.