March 21st, 2012
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Centre favours decriminalization of gay sex

gay-rightsNew Delhi: The Centre informed the Supreme Court that it is in favour of decriminalization of gay sex and that the Delhi High Court verdict is acceptable to it. The government took a stand that criminalization of gay sex among consenting adults in private is in violation of Fundamental Rights of homosexuals. Attorney General Mr. Vahanvati, who was asked by a bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya to clarify the government’s stand on the issue, said there is no legal error in the high court judgment and “it is acceptable to us (government)“.

The bench asked whether the affidavit filed in the high court by the Home Ministry, opposing gay sex, was wrong. Vahanvati said though the government had opposed dilution of Section 377 as far as consensual gay sex in private was concerned, it later realised that the high court verdict was correct.  The government “learnt and subsequently got enlightened” from the Delhi High Court verdict said General G E Vahanvati while commenting on the change on the centre’s stand. He also said that the recent goof up in the apex court where Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra opposed gay sex was a result of lack of communication between the law officers and the Home Ministry.

The Delhi High Court had in 2009 decriminalized gay sex as provided in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and had ruled that sex between two consenting adults in private would not be an offence. Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC makes gay sex a criminal offence entailing punishment up to life term.

Senior BJP leader B P Singhal has challenged the high court verdict in the Supreme Court, saying such acts are illegal, immoral and against the ethos of Indian culture.  Religious organizations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance too have challenged the judgement.The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Right, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munn Kazhgam, astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal and yoga guru Ramdev have also opposed the verdict.



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