The 2 February order of the Supreme Court referring the curative petitions in the Naz Foundation case to its Constitution Bench is finally available. This batch of curative petitions seeks ‘curing of the defects in the 2013 judgment upholding the validity of section 377 of Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexual relationships ’.
The December 11, 2013 judgment of the Court had upheld the validity of section 377 of IPC which criminalises homosexual intercourse.
The order states:
We have heard learned counsel for the Petitioners at some length who submit that several important issues including issues of considerable public interest fall for consideration in these curative petitions. They submit that the petitions could be admitted to a full fledged hearing and the matter examined in all its dimensions.
Learned counsel for some of the Respondents on the contrary point out that the scope for interference in a Curative Petition is limited to what is laid down by this Court in the Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra & Anr – (2002) 4 SCC 388, which tests are not satisfied in the case at hand. There is, therefore, no room for interference by this Court with the view already taken. They pray for dismissal of these Curative Petitions.
We do not consider it necessary at this stage to delve deep into the merits of the submissions made at the bar. All that we need say is that since the issue sought be be raised are of considerable importance and public interest and since some of the issues have constitutional dimensions including whether the curative petition qualify for consideration of this Court in the light of the judgment in Rupa Ashok Hurra (supra), it will be more appropriate if these petitions are placed before a Constitution Bench comprising of five Hon’ble Judges of this Court
We order accordingly. The papers shall be placed before Hon’ble Chief Justice of India for constituting an appropriate bench.
CJI TS Thakur
Justice A R Dave
Justice J S Khehar
Our coverage of the court proceedings on 2 February 2016 can be read here.