Govt may seek more time in SC on gay sex issue

Last Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 10:20

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court verdict
legalising gay sex has put the government in a fix as it
remains undecided about its stand in the Supreme Court, 10
days after a response was sought from it on the vexed issue.

"No affidavit has been filed in the court as yet. It has
to be seen what happens in the court," Attorney General GE
Vahanvati, who will appear in the matter, said.

"You have to wait and watch what happens in the court
tomorrow," he said.

While the Centre remained non-committal about its stand
on the High Court verdict which has been opposed by different
sections of society, including religious leaders of all
communities and a child rights body, gay rights activists have
drawn up a detailed strategy to defend the verdict.

"We will file our response to the appeals after it is
admitted by the apex court," said Shivangi Rai, the lawyer
actively associated with the NGO Naz Foundation on whose PIL
the High Court on July 2 had declared the penal provision
(under Section 377 of Indian Penal Code) for gay sex among
consenting adults in private as unconstitutional.

The apex court had issued notice to the Centre seeking
its response on the petition filed by a Delhi astrologer
challenging the High Court verdict.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, which
will hear the matter tomorrow, had said during the earlier
hearing that "any interim order against the High Court
verdict, if necessary, will be considered only after hearing
the parties concerned".

Notices were also issued to Naz Foundation, the NGO and
other respondents who were parties before the High Court.

Astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal has sought quashing of
the July 2 High Court judgement legalising gay sex between
consenting adults in private, which was earlier a criminal
offence punishable with up to life imprisonment.

"If such abnormality is permitted, then tomorrow people
might seek permission for having sex with animals," Kaushal
had argued.

He had claimed that since the High Court verdict there
had been seven gay marriages, raising several questions that
could impact on the very institution and added "We have to
look at our own scriptures to seek guidance from and they are
against such behaviour in our society".

Law Minister Veerappa Moily had said that a three-member
ministerial group has been tasked with looking at all aspects
of the verdict.

The petitioner contended that homosexual acts, by all
standards, were "unnatural" and could not be permitted.

"No one can imagine the consequences of the unnatural
acts. Even animals don`t indulge in such activities," he said
in his petition.

The High Court verdict, widely welcomed by gay activists,
sparked off a controversy with several political leaders
asking the government to appeal against it in the Supreme
Court.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 10:20

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