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What is Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)


New Delhi, Sep 6: The Supreme Court's five judge Bench will deliver its verdict on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code today. The Bench would decide on whether or not to decriminalise gay sex.

This contentious section in the Indian Penal Code has been a subject matter of debate for long. What is Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code?

What is Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Section 377 of the IPC is under Chapter XVI titled "Of Offences Affecting the Human Body".

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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.

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.

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