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Ramadoss blames judgment delay on Patil

For former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss,the judgment is a personal victory. He was the only minister in the previous government...

For former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss,the judgment is a personal victory. He was the only minister in the previous government who had supported scrapping of Section 377 in public. According to him,had it not been for former home minister Shivraj Patil,the decision would have not taken so long. “The decision is historical and a great step in HIV/AIDS control in the country,” said Ramadoss.

Ramadoss said the fact that he was a doctor and understood what it meant on the ground level convinced him. “The stories of discrimination were horrifying. Activists always said the law was a tool of extracting money by enforcing agencies. Besides we at that time understood the futility of the entire AIDS control exercise if the law wasn’t scrapped,” he added.

According to National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) figures,while 86 per cent of infections spread through sex,the percentage was highest among men having sex with men. “The reason was they didn’t come out.”

Ramadoss said,“This was something that the Health Ministry stood for all along. But it was sad that two parts of the same government had conflicting views. While the Health Ministry favoured scrapping the law,the Home Ministry called it immoral.”

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“We wrote to the Home Ministry about our concerns but they never listened. Even when the issue reached the Cabinet,Mr Patil refused to relent,” he said.

According to Ramadoss,Manmohan Singh wanted the issue to be settled amicably. “He wanted both the ministries to reach a solution. But even the then Law Minister opposed it,” he said.

“I went to Mr Patil’s home along with Sujatha Rao,DG NACO and the Health Secretary and spoke to him for a long time. But he put his foot down,” he said.

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NACO even filed an affidavit in September 2008 favouring scrapping of the law. However on September 30,2008,the then UPA government asked the court to “ignore” Ramadoss’s statement.

Ramadoss now hoped that current Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad would “make sure the judgment bears fruit”.

Like Ramadoss,NACO chief Sujatha Rao also cheered the judgment,saying that “decriminalisation will make gay population more accessible” to medical care.

First published on: 03-07-2009 at 01:43 IST
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