The centre on Friday made it clear before the Delhi High Court that it is opposed to legalising homosexuality between consenting adults.
The court, for its part, criticised the home ministry for its “casual approach” in filing an affidavit in support of its contentions, which the judges said demonstrated “complete non-application of mind”.
Additional Solicitor General PP Malhotra, representing the Centre, said the public in the UK and US have shown tolerance to such sexual behaviour “but it is not universally accepted behaviour and Indian society objects to sex against the order of nature completely”. The court is hearing a petition filed by Naz foundation, an NGO supporting gay rights and seeking decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Malhotra, who appeared for both the home and health ministries, said even the Law Commission has said Indian society disapproved of homosexuality and this was strong enough to justify it being treated as a criminal offence, “even where adults indulge in it in private”. Countering the argument of the petitioners that “moral argument cannot triumph over constitutional rights under Article 21 (right to life and liberty), Malhotra said: “Right to privacy is not implicit in Article 21. Sex between the same gender is not known to nature or law.”
Asserting the state had complete power to control the social vice, he also raised the issue of “health concern” and “breach of peace” if IPC section 377 (punishment for indulging in unnatural sex) is scrapped. The court will continue hearing on Monday.