26 February 2022, Port Louis, Mauritius
For immediate release: Young LGBT activists seek to establish equality and freedom under the law for LGBT persons at the Supreme Court of Mauritius by challenging the constitutionality of Section 250
On the 06 September 2019, four young LGBT Mauritians, who come from all parts of Mauritian society, have approached the Supreme Court of Mauritius for leave to seek constitutional redress by declaration that Section 250 of the Mauritian Criminal Code Act of 1838 (as amended) violates their fundamental rights and freedom and is unconstitutional. This was the first time that four homosexual citizens of Mauritius approached the Supreme Court of Mauritius in this regard.
The Defendant is the State of Mauritius represented by the Attorney General of the Republic of Mauritius whereas the co-defendants are The Director of Public Prosecutions (co-defendant no. 1) and the Commissioner of Police (co-defendant no. 2).
The matter was heard on the merits on 24 February 2022.
The Plaintiffs contended in their plaint for constitutional redress that Section 250 does not have its place in modern and democratic Mauritius in that:
- LGBT people, like all other citizens, should have the fundamental rights to choice of sexual partner, privacy, dignity, protection of the law and equality.
- Section 250 is contrary to the values of democracy and treats LGBT people as second-class citizens.
- Mauritians believe in an equal society free from discrimination, and the continued existence of Section 250 brings about discrimination, inequality, stigma, and persecution of LGBT people.
The Plaintiffs have therefore requested the Supreme Court of Mauritius:
- A declaration that sexual orientation forms part of and is implied in the definition of sex as enacted under Sections 3, 3 (a) and 16 of the Constitution of Mauritius.
- A declaration that Section 250 of the Mauritian Criminal Code Act is unconstitutional.
- Alternatively, a declaration that Section 250 of the Mauritian Criminal Code does not apply to consensual acts of sodomy performed by consensual adults.
The Plaintiffs, who come from Hindu, Christian and Muslim backgrounds, are all members of the Young Queer Alliance, a youth-led NGO advocating for the respect of equal human rights for LGBT people in Mauritius.
The Plaintiffs are legally represented before the Supreme Court on a pro-bono basis by Dentons (Mauritius) LLP, and by the Barristers of the Franco-Mauritian Law Chambers LCMB et Associés, based in Paris and Mauritius.
Young Queer Alliance