Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India

Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India
Emblem of the Supreme Court of India.svg
CourtW. P. (Crl.) No. 76 of 2016
D. No. 14961/2016
Legislation cited
Case history
Prior action(s)Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation
Appealed fromSupreme Court of India
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingDipak Misra, CJI; Rohinton Fali Nariman, J.; A. M. Khanwilkar, J; D. Y. Chandrachud, J; and Indu Malhotra, J
Case opinions
Decision byDipak Misra, R. F. Nariman, D. Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra
PluralityDipak Misra, joined by A. M. Khanwilkar
ConcurrenceRohinton Fali Nariman, Indu Malhotra, D. Y. Chandrachud
This case overturned a previous ruling
Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation by Supreme Court of India

Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India thr. Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India in 2018 that decriminalised all consensual sex among adults in private, including homosexual sex.[1]

The court was asked to determine the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era law which, among other things, criminalised homosexual acts as an "unnatural offence". While the statute criminalises all anal sex and oral sex, including between opposite-sex couples, it largely affected same-sex relationships.[2] On 6 September 2018, the court unanimously declared the law unconstitutional "in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex".[3] The verdict was hailed as a landmark decision for LGBT rights in India, with campaigners waiting outside the court cheering after the verdict was pronounced.[2]

Portions of Section 377 relating to sex with minors, non-consensual sexual acts such as rape, and bestiality remain in force.[4]

Background

On 27 April 2016, five people filed a new writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The petitioners claimed that the issues which they raised in their petition were varied and diverse from those raised in the pending curative petition in the 2013 Koushal v. Naz case, in which the Supreme Court had upheld the constitutionality of Section 377. The Naz had been earlier referred to a five-judge bench in order to decide whether the curative petition could be accepted for consideration. The petitioners were dancer Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri, and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur.[5] This case was the first instance wherein the petitioners argued that they had all been directly aggrieved because of Section 377, alleging it to be a direct violation of fundamental rights.[6][7]

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