New Delhi: Decriminalisation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code will give freedom not only to the LGBT+ community but also to people facing criminal charges under this law. People facing criminal cases where there is no victim — implying that the act was consensual — will not face this law now.

In other words, a third party (neighbours, relatives, hotel owners, passers-by, etc) cannot complain to the police about a homosexual relationship between two (consenting) adults.

According to the experts MyNation spoke to, those cases that are under investigation will see no charge sheet now. They say cases where charge sheets have been filed may see a closure report.

However, the experts say, the accused in cases that have complainants claiming that sex was not mutual but forced will face trial and, if proven guilty, punished as well under other laws that are applicable in cases of rape, molestation, sexual harassment, etc.

Ashok Sharma, a Delhi based lawyer, said, “Now the police will not file any charge sheet in the cases where there is no complainant, as there are no charges. But if there is some complainant in the case claiming that he or she was forced to have sex, the accused will face trial.”

Even police officers are saying that no charge sheet will be filed in cases where the matter is under investigation. Also, where the matter has reached the stage of trial, no punishment can be given as the Section is no longer an anti-criminal law.

“As the Section has been decriminalised, first we need to read the order. There are hardly any cases where there is no complainant, but if there are cases where there is no complainant, no charges can be framed if there is only one Section 377,” Monika Bharadwaj, DCP west Delhi said.

The LGBT+ community is asking for some clarity in this matter, too. “It is a big relief also for people facing criminal charges. Hopefully, they will be released soon as the Section has been decriminalised. It is a big win for us,” Keshav Suri, executive director, Lalit Hotel group said, celebrating the Supreme Court judgment.