The Supreme Court bench presided by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also comprising of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul rejected a Petition today, filed with the purpose to strike down Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) 1860, citing that the provision is not "gender neutral." The Court while rejecting the Petition said,
“We are not inclined to interfere at this stage. Parliament has to take a call in the issue."
The Court also suggested that if required, Parliament has the power to amend the law.
The observation of the Court came during the hearing of the Petition filed by an NGO Criminal Justice Society of India, who approached Court challenging the constitutional validity of the provision, stating that the Section 375 of IPC is not gender neutral as it excludes rape of men, transgenders and sought declaration of section 375 as ultra vires as being discriminatory and violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
Section 375 in the Indian Penal Code defines Rape and states that "a man" is said to commit “rape” who has sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, or without her consent or by coercion by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt or by misrepresentation or fraud or during unsoundness of mind or intoxicated state when she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the act.
The petition claimed that the definition clarifies that Section 375, considers women as a victim and men always as a perpetrators without taking note of non-consensual sexual assault inflicted on a woman by a woman, on a man by another man, on transgender by another transgender or a man or woman, on a man by a woman.
The petition claimed that law should accept the fact that both men and women can be raped and definition of Rape as per Section 375, should not be limited to a specific form of sexual acts.
The Petition was filed after Supreme Court decision of decriminalizing sexual relations between consenting homosexual adults.