Section 377 is discriminatory, deprives citizens of rights, says Justice A P Shah

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Supreme Court of India

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Posted: February 17, 2015 2:57 am | Updated: February 17, 2015 11:14 am

In an emotionally charged speech at the launch of a book on sexual orientation and gender identity laws, Law Commission of India Chairman Justice A P Shah said the Supreme Court had “not addressed the concept of constitutional morality” in its judgment that re-criminalised homosexuality and upheld Section 377 of the IPC.

“In my opinion, Section 377 is discriminatory, unreasonable and deprives a section of the population of their rights,” Shah said.

He had headed the bench of the Delhi High Court in 2009, that delivered the Naz foundation judgment which read down Section 377 and decriminalised homosexuality.

“Why should someone’s fundamental life choices be shaped by archaic notions of public morality?” Shah said.

Justice Shah also said “public morality and constitutional morality” had “significant points of departure” and that it was the work of the courts to uphold constitutional morality.

The remarks were made at the launch of a book, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-A new province of Law in India, by former Australian High Court judge Justice Michael Kirby.