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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

The Gay sex controversy lands in India’s Supreme Court

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 09 July ( The raging controversy over Gay rights in the wake of Delhi High Court ruling that the ban under Section 377 was invalid, has landed in the apex court.

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Manmohan Singh government on a petition challenging the July 2 Delhi High Court judgement legalising gay sex among the consenting adults.

The matter has been posted for hearing on July 20. Naz Foundation, the NGO, which brought the Gay case before the Delhi court, and other parties before the High Court were also issued notices.

When the counsel for the petitioner, astrologer, Suresh Kumar Kaushal, sought an interim stay on the High Court verdict, the apex court bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam said the request would be considered only after hearing the parties concerned.

Since the High Court verdict seven days back, there have been at least seven cases of gay marriages – one of them a well publicized ceremony in Chandigarh

During the brief hearing, the judges said, ‘We have not changed the definition of marriage’, and pointed out that though the law has been in force since 1860, there have been only a handful cases under the penal provision except those of paedophile cases. There are no known cases of prosecution on charge of gay sex either.

The High Court verdict hailed as forward looking by the gay activists has put the Manmohan Singh government in a bind. Just before the verdict was announced, the law and home ministers were favourable to repeal of Section 377 which has been on the statute since the days of the Raj. In the past one week, the government has developed cold feet. This is a sequel to open opposition from Hindu, Christian and Muslim religious groups.

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has termed the Delhi High Court’s verdict as “illegal, irreligious and unnatural” for the society.

Its President Maulana Rabe Hasani Nadvi said that the court’s decision was in favour of only a very small gay community. The judgement held that gay sex among consenting adults is not a crime.

The Maulana, condemning the court decision as irreligious and unnatural, said ‘We would not allow the western culture to be imposed upon the innocent Indian society’.

‘If legalised, these acts, which are contrary to religion, nature, morality and habits, will poison the Indian society,” he said.

Noted Yoga guru, Baba Ramdev termed homosexuality as a disease. It can be cured, he said and opined that the right to privacy as a facet of right to life cannot include the right to enjoy deviant sexual preferences and sexual behaviour.

‘The High Court erred in striking down the provision of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in so far as it penalizes consensual unnatural sex act of adults in private by proceeding on the basis of changing moral values and norms, and ignoring the fundamental constitutional principles of judicial restraint’, the Yoga Guru, who is also a petitioner before the Supreme Court on behalf of Bharat Swabhiman Trust, said.

-Asian Tribune -.

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