The Supreme Court will on Thursday pronounce its verdict on the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexual acts, Live Law reported.

On July 17, a Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, reserved the verdict in the matter after hearing arguments on a batch of petitions demanding amendments to the section.

The court had said it would strike down the law if it is convinced that it violates fundamental rights. The Centre did not take a stand and left the decision on consensual gay sex “to the wisdom of the court”. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Union of India does not contest an individual’s right to choose a partner.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said that the court would not go by “majoritarian morality” in the case. “Constitutional questions cannot be decided by referendum,” he had said, when a lawyer arguing in favour of the law claimed that popular opinion was against homosexuality.

The six petitions and interventions before the Supreme Court – filed by non-governmental organisation Naz Foundation, parents of queer people and Voices Against 377, a collective of human rights groups – urged the court to reconsider its own judgement from 2013, when it set aside a 2009 order by the Delhi High Court decriminalising homosexual activity. The top court had placed the onus on Parliament then, saying only the legislature can change laws.

The United Kingdom, on whose Constitution many of India’s laws are based, abolished the law against same-sex relationships in 1967.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy is a fundamental right, that it is intrinsic to life and liberty. Sexual orientation, the court said in its judgement, is an “essential component of identity” and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population are “real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine”.