SC slams govt for conflict in stand on homosexuality
Taking strong exception to the conflicting stands of the ministries of home and health on the Delhi HC verdict decriminalising homosexuality, the SC on Tuesday pulled up the government, saying, “Don’t make a mockery of the system.” Bhadra Sinha reports.delhi Updated: Feb 29, 2012 01:04 IST
Taking strong exception to the conflicting stands of the ministries of home and health on the Delhi HC verdict decriminalising homosexuality, the SC on Tuesday pulled up the government, saying, “Don’t make a mockery of the system.”
A bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukopadhaya demanded an affidavit putting on record the cabinet’s view. The bench gave three days to the government and said the affidavit must be filed by its highest officer.
The direction came after additional solicitor general (ASG) Mohan Jain submitted there was no “legal error” in the 2009 HC verdict. Jain’s submission for the health ministry was contrary to the stand taken by ASG PP Malhotra who had last week opposed the HC judgment while appearing for the home ministry.
He reiterated the stand taken by the ministry before the HC and termed homosexuality as “highly immoral”. But, immediately after he opened his case, the ministry which he represented distanced itself from his arguments. Even Jain had intervened, stating he had been briefed to inform the court that the Centre did not toe his colleague’s stand.
Supporting the HC verdict, Jain on Tuesday stated he represented both the ministry of health and the Centre. At this the court retorted: “We noted down the arguments on behalf of the home ministry. What is the stand of the health ministry?”
The court told Jain there was no need for him to argue afresh.
“You are appearing for the health ministry. Tomorrow someone may say that Jain was not authorised to argue the case. We do not want to embarrass you,” the bench said. The ASG was, however, permitted to place his views on behalf of the health ministry in support of the HC judgment.
The HC had in 2009 read down the provision of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and ruled that sex between two consenting adults of the same sex in private would not be an offence. Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC states any person indulging in carnal intercourse with a man, woman or animal and against the order of nature would be punished.