Yashdeep Chahal and Smridhi Sharma from Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi write on the landmark case of Navtej Johar and Ors. v. Union of India.

Abstract

Through the landmark verdict pronounced in the case of Navtej Johar and Ors. v. Union of India, on 6th September, 2018, the Hon’ble Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to the extent that it criminalised consensual sexual acts between adults. In the process, the court overruled the judgment in Suresh Kumar Kaushal and Another v. Naz Foundation and Others and upheld the judgment rendered by the Delhi High Court in Naz Foundation v. Government of NCT of Delhi and Others.

The judgment assumes great significance in the light of the principles of constitutional jurisprudence relied upon by the judges and the analysis of fundamental rights. An even more important aspect of the judgment is the scope and extent of its application in the peculiar socio-legal scenario of India and its consequences thereof. This paper examines the judgment from a critical perspective by looking into the historical developments of Section 377, the applicability of various doctrines invoked in the judgment, the cascading effect of the judgment on the laws in force and the intense role of the legislature.