SC decision a step forward, feels Kolkata’s LGBT community

Kolkata, Feb 2 (IANS) Initially apprehensive that the petition would be dismissed outright, the LGBT community here said it was a “step forward” that the Supreme Court on Tuesday referred a curative petition challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to a five-judge constitution bench for hearing.

“The apprehension was it would be dismissed outright. Now we are waiting for the date of the hearing,” sexual rights activist Pawan Dhall told IANS.

Transgender activist Ranjita Sinha welcomed the fact that the apex court decision reopened the debate.

Sinha and other activists along with some members of the public organised a protest on Monday against Section 377 that criminalises homosexuality.

Souvik, a queer citizen-activist of Kolkata, sounded optimistic.

“Let’s see… the community is strong and we hope for more public support, especially from youngsters who are more open to understanding gender and sexual rights issues,” he told IANS.

A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear the curative petition by NGO Naaz Foundation and others seeking a relook at its verdict upholding the validity of Section 377.

A bench of three seniormost judges — Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar — referred the curative petition to the larger bench as counsel Kapil Sibal said the issue involved constitutional questions of far-reaching importance and must be heard by a five-judge bench.

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