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Centre against scrapping of law outlawing homosexuality

Setting the record straight on the hitherto contradictory views of the Home Ministry and the Health Ministry on legalising homosexuality...

Setting the record straight on the hitherto contradictory views of the Home Ministry and the Health Ministry on legalising homosexuality, the Centre on Thursday confirmed its intention to take a firm stand against scrapping Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Widely referred to as the ‘anti-sodomy law’, the section pertains to Unnatural Offences and criminalises homosexuality.

A day before he is to submit the government’s unanimous response on the removal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code before the Delhi High Court, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) and lead counsel for both ministries, P P Malhotra, confirmed that the Centre would “obviously” object to the removal of the law. “Obviously, we will take a stand against the scrapping of Section 377 IPC that classifies sex between two men as a criminal offence. We object to their plea,” he told The Indian Express after a hearing before a Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar on a PIL filed by the NAZ Foundation for modifying Section 377 IPC to exempt “private, consensual, adult love” between persons of the same sex.

The government’s position on the fate of Section 377 IPC had been vague after the Health Ministry endorsed the move to exempt adult homosexual love from the provision, even as the Home Ministry firmly supported the law.

When asked whether he would argue against the Health Ministry’s stand in court, Malhotra said the Government would take its stand on Friday.

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First published on: 26-09-2008 at 01:29:39 am
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