Arun Jaitley: Need to reconsider SC orders on 377, NJAC

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Supreme Court took a ‘conservative view’ on homosexuality and gay rights in India

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 29, 2015 12:41 pm
Arun Jaitley, Times Lit Fest, India homosexuality, homosexuality india, jaitley homosexuality, homosexuality jaitley, 377, india 377, article 377, njac, njac struck down, njac india, njac verdict, india news Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing during the Times Litfest in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday that the Supreme Court’s judgment against gay sex as well as its recent decision to strike down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) need to be “reconsidered”.

Underlining that an elected government and the parliament’s sovereignty are as much a part of the basic structure as independence of the judiciary, Jaitley said “all other basic structures” cannot be “dismantled” just “to protect one”.

“Of course, I have been vocal in my comments about the recent judgment on the NJAC. I think at some stage in future, we need to reconsider it. When the law says that the President shall appoint (judges) in consultation with the Chief Justice, to say that this law actually means that the Chief Justice will appoint virtually without consulting anyone is the opposite of what the Constitution says,” said the minister, speaking at the Times LitFest.

“And to base it on a logic that an institution can be saved only by exclusivity of exercise of power by judiciary, elected representatives can’t be trusted… I think, to say the least, is not a fair argument,” he added.

Jaitley also said the Supreme Court’s ruling that held that homosexuality, under Section 377 of the IPC, was illegal and would continue to be an offence needed to be reconsidered.

“When you have millions of people involved in this (gay sex) you can’t nudge them off,” said Jaitley, adding that the court had taken a “conservative view”. He said the view taken by the court would have been relevant about 50 years ago.

“Jurisprudence world over is evolving, I think the judgment was not correct and, probably at some stage, they may have to reconsider,” said Jaitley.

On whether the reservation policy needs a re-look, the minister said: “It’s still not the time to think of that. Let us honestly introspect. It is an argument raised by those who feel that their interest is impacted adversely by reservation. Have we brought the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in this country to a level that in 2015 they are able to compete at par… Can we honestly admit that? And if we can’t, then I think let’s not speak, today at least, about the time frame. Let’s first bring them up.”

(With PTI)