The five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its verdict on July 17 after hearing various stakeholders for four days, including gay rights activists.
Besides the CJI, the bench also comprised justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.
Here are the key highlights from the judgement:
CJI Dipak Misra:
It is a unanimous verdict expressed through four separate but concurring judgments.
Section 377 is arbitrary. LGBT community posses rights like others. Majoritarian views and popular morality cannot dictate constitutional rights.
We have to vanquish prejudice, embrace inclusion, and ensure equal rights.
Heterogeneous fibre of the society must be maintained. Constitutional morality can't be equated with popular sentiments.
Sustenance of identity is the essence of existence.
CJI Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar:
Majoritarianism in constitutionally untenable. Constitution is a dynamic document, having the primary objective of establishing a dynamic and inclusive society.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is violation of freedom of speech and expression.
Bodily autonomy is individualistic. Expression of intimacy is part of right to privacy.
Section 377 to the extent it criminalizes sexual acts between consenting adults, whether homosexual or hetrosexual, is unconstitutional.
However, bestiality will continue as an offence.
R F Nariman:
Suresh Koushal no longer good law in view of NALSA & Puttaswamy judgments.
Homosexuality cannot be regarded as mental disorder.
Homosexuals have right to live with dignity.
D Y Chandrachud:
Section 377 inflicts tragedy and anguish; it has to be remedied.
Section 377 has travelled so much that it has been destructive to LGBT identity.
Human sexuality cannot be confined to a binary.
Treament of homosexuality as a disorder/ disease has a severe impact on mental health of such persons.
LGBT community entitled to equal citizenship, equal rights under the Constitution.
Constitutional morality and not societal morality should be the driving force for deciding validity of Section 377.
To deny LGBT community of their right to sexual orientation is a denial of their citizenship and a violation of their privacy. They cannot be pushed into obscurity by an oppressive colonial legislation.
History owes an apology to these people persecuted by Section 377 for the social ostracism caused by the section.