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India declares homosexuality a criminal offense

Supreme Court reverses earlier judgment

India declares homosexuality a criminal offense

Supreme Court picture: Wikimedia Commons

J. Venkatesan for The Hindu

December 11, 2013

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In a major setback to gay activists, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that homosexuality or "unnatural" sex between two consenting adults under Section 377 Indian Penal Code would be an offence and this provision did not suffer from any constitutional infirmity.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya in its judgment allowed a batch of appeals challenging the Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising Section 377 of IPC between two consenting adults.

The court had reserved verdict on March 27, 2012 after marathon arguments since February 15, 2012 from counsel for the appellants, the Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati and others arguing for and against the judgment.

The Bench while setting aside the High Court judgment, however said it would be open to the government to accept the recommendations of the Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati either to delete Section 377 IPC from the statute book or bring in appropriate amendments.

After the initial flip flop by the Centre in opposing the High Court judgment and changing its stand later, during the arguments the Attorney General maintained that the Centre had decided not to file any appeal against the High Court judgment. He said Section 377 of the IPC “insofar as it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private” (prior to striking down by the Delhi High Court) wasimposed upon Indian society due to the moral views of the British rulers.”

Mr. Vahanvati had said “the introduction of Section 377 in the IPC was not a reflection of existing Indian values and traditions, rather it was imposed upon Indian society by the colonisers due to their moral values. The Indian society prevalent before the enactment of the IPC had a much greater tolerance for homosexuality than its British counterpart, which at this time under the influence of Victorian morality and values in regard to family and the procreative nature of sex.”

Full Story: Homosexuality illegal: SC

Source: The Hindu


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