Supreme Court Verdict on Section 377 of IPC: All You Need to Know
The expression “carnal intercourse” as used in Section 377 is distinct from the expression “sexual intercourse”, which appears in Sections 375 and 497 of the IPC
(Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that section 377 can't punish gay sex between consenting adults. The apex court was hearing a clutch of petitions seeking decriminalisation of a 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual gay sex, here's a look at the origin and meaning of section 377.
* The IPC was drafted by Lord Macaulay and introduced in 1861 in British India.
* Section 377 of the IPC is under Chapter XVI titled “Of Offences Affecting the Human Body”.
* Within this Chapter, Section 377 is categorised under the sub-chapter titled “Of Unnatural Offences” and reads as follows: A) 377. Unnatural Offences — Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
B) “Explanation—Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.”
* The marginal note refers to the acts proscribed as “unnatural offences”. This expression, however, is not used in the text of the Section.
* The expression “carnal intercourse” as used in Section 377 is distinct from the expression “sexual intercourse”, which appears in Sections 375 and 497 of the IPC
* It bears noting that the text of the law does not target the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual or intersex (LGBTI) communities directly.
* Under the law even heterosexual couples are liable for imprisonment for engaging, with mutual consent, in penile non-vaginal sex, including penile oral or penile anal sex, in the privacy of their bedrooms.
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