“Societal morality changes with time,” says the court.

The Supreme Court on Monday referred a plea to decriminalise homosexuality under section 377 of the Indian penal Code to a Constitution Bench.

The court said, “The determination of order of nature is not a constant phenomenon. Societal morality changes with time, law walks with life. A section of people can’t live in fear of their individual choice ”

Summing up counsel for the petitioners Arvind Datar’s arguments for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, the Supreme Court noted that the concept of consensual sex may require more clarity. The court stated that “individual autonomy and individual’s natural inclination cannot be atrophied unless the restriction is reasonable to yield to the morality of the public at large.”

Mr. Datar said that section 377 was not a “reasonable restriction. It has the potential to destroy individual choice and sexual orientation.”

He noted that the plea does not refer to the part of the section that criminalises intercourse with animals, but the part that criminalises sex between two consenting adults. He said the right to privacy means “I have a right to choose my sexual partner.”

The petitioners are Navtej Singh Johar, a Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-winning Bharatnatyam dancer; Sunil Mehra, a senior journalist; Ritu Dalmia, a restaurateur; and Aman Nath, founder of the Neemrana chain of hotels.

(Source: The Hindu)