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Singapore's Supreme Court recently upheld the law that criminalizes homosexual sex among males.
The High Court and the Court of Appeal are Singapore's Supreme Court. The High Court judgments are appealable to the Court of Appeal. Appeals against the High Court decision have reportedly already been lodged before the Court of Appeal.
Judgment In 2014, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's decision rejecting the petition against Section 377A in Lim Meng Suang and another v Attorney-General, and a further appeal and another matter  1 SLR 26.
The three new petitions were filed in Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India, AIR 2018 SC 4321 after Indian Supreme Court delivered its judgment. The judge of the High Court, See Kee Oon, has of course referred to the judgment of the Indian SC in Navtej Singh Johar.
This piece intends to examine the difference in approach of two Supreme Courts towards criminalizing homosexuality.
377A of the Singapore Penal Code
Unlike Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, Section 377A of Singapore Penal Code penalizes only males. The provision reads as follows: Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years. Section 377 of the Singapore Penal Code, was pari materia with its Indian counterpart, and it was repealed in the year 2007.
Societal Disapproval Towards Male Homosexual Conduct
In Navtej Singh Johar, the judges of the Indian Supreme Court held that civil freedoms cannot be determined by public opinion and common morality. When a breach of the constitutional rights of a citizen or a group of citizens has been recorded by the Court, the Court will not remain a silent spectator and wait for the majority, Justice Indu Malhotra stated. Justice Dipak Misra (then CJI) and Justice DY Chandrachud have made similar observations.
On the contrary, the Singapore High Court gives primacy to the decision of the Parliament to retain Section 377A in its present form and concludes that there has been no substantial improvement in the degree of social rejection of male homosexual behaviour, as opposed to female homosexual conduct, as well as the effect that the former had on public morality.
The law continues to serve its function of safeguarding public morality by demonstrating social moral rejection of male homosexual acts, the judge said while citing debates in Parliament.
Presumption of Constitutionality Vis-a-Vis Pre Constitutional Statute
The Singapore High Court also noted that Section 377A was thoroughly discussed and comprehensively considered by Parliament which agreed to maintain it and thus the presumption of constitutionality would operate and be given full weight.
The judge had observed thus: "Section 377A is unlike many other pre-Constitution provisions that simply remained on the statute books without subsequent consideration and debate in Parliament. Views on s 377A were expressed by over a dozen Members of Parliament ("MPs"), with the Prime Minister stating that "the continued retention of section 377A would not be a contravention of the Constitution" (s 377A Hansard at col 2397). The vast majority of MPs supported the retention of s 377A. Mr Siew Kum Hong, a Nominated Member of Parliament ("NMP"), was the only member who wished for his dissent to be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report (s 377A Hansard at col 2444)."
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of the ratings, feedback or Documents/ Advice reviews: REGISTERED
USERS cannot submit abusive or inappropriate feedback entries,
coerce or threaten buyers into submitting feedback, submit
transaction feedback regarding them, or include personal information
about a transaction partner within a feedback entry. Furthermore,
any attempt to manipulate ratings of any REGISTERED USER is
prohibited. Any attempt to manipulate ratings, feedback, or
Documents/ Advice reviews is prohibited.
are important to the SoOLEGAL Platform, providing a forum for
feedback about Documents/ Advice and service details and reviewers'
experiences with Documents/ Advices and services –
or negative. You may not write reviews for Documents/ Advices or
services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews
for Documents/ Advices or services that you or your competitors deal
with. Additionally, you may not provide compensation for a review
(including free or discounted Documents/ Advices). Review
solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer
compensation are prohibited. You may not ask buyers to modify or
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following list of prohibited Documents/ Advices comprises two
sections: Prohibited Content and Intellectual Property
Listing prohibited content may result in the cancellation of your listings, or the suspension or removal of your transacting privileges. REGISTERED USERS are responsible for ensuring that the Documents/ Advices they offer are legal and authorised for Transaction or re-Transaction.
If we determine that the content of a Documents/ Advice detail page or listing is prohibited, potentially illegal, or inappropriate, we may remove or alter it without prior notice. SoOLEGAL reserves the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate.
Illegal and potentially illegal Documents/ Advices: Documents/ Advices sold on SoOLEGAL.in must adhere to all applicable laws. As REGISTERED USERS are legally liable for their actions and transactions, they must know the legal parameters surrounding any Documents/ Advice they display on our website.
Offensive material: SoOLEGAL reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of listings posted to our website.
Nudity: In general, images that portray nudity in a gratuitous or graphic manner are prohibited.
Items that infringe upon an individual's privacy. SoOLEGAL holds personal privacy in the highest regard. Therefore, items that infringe upon, or have potential to infringe upon, an individual's privacy are prohibited.
Intellectual Property Violations
Counterfeit merchandise: Documents/ Advices displayed on our website must be authentic. Any Documents/ Advice that has been illegally replicated, reproduced or manufactured is prohibited.
Books - Unauthorised copies of books are prohibited.
Movies - Unauthorised copies of movies in any format are prohibited. Unreleased/prereleased movies, screeners, trailers, unpublished and unauthorized film scripts (no ISBN number), electronic press kits, and unauthorised props are also prohibited.
Photos - Unauthorised copies of photos are prohibited.
Television Programs - Unauthorised copies of television Programs (including pay-per-view events), Programs never broadcast, unauthorised scripts, unauthorised props, and screeners are prohibited.
Transferred media. Media transferred from one format to another is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to: films converted from NTSC to Pal and Pal to NTSC, laserdisc to video, television to video, CD-ROM to cassette tape, from the Internet to any digital format, etc.
Promotional media: Promotional versions of media Documents/ Advices, including books (advance reading copies and uncorrected proofs), music, and videos (screeners) are prohibited. These Documents/ Advices are distributed for promotional consideration and generally are not authorized for Transaction.
Rights of Publicity: Celebrity images and/or the use of celebrity names cannot be used for commercial purposes without permission of a celebrity or their management. This includes Documents/ Advice endorsements and use of a celebrity's likeness on merchandise such as posters, mouse pads, clocks, image collections in digital format, and so on.
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