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How many gays in India, SC asks govt

delhi Updated: Mar 02, 2012 01:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The Supreme Court on Thursday sought to know from the Centre the estimated number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in India and how many of them were HIV-infected.

A bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice SJ Mukhopadhaya, which is hearing a bunch of appeals against the July 2009 Delhi high court's verdict decriminalising homosexual acts between consenting adults in private, expressed displeasure over the government not furnishing authentic details of homosexuals' population in the country.

Pulling up government officials for not doing their "homework" in the case, the bench pointed out that the data submitted before the Delhi high court had not been placed before it and demanded all relevant records about LGBT before March 13, the next date of hearing.

"You should have done your homework before coming to the court," the court told a government official.

Pointing out that it was stated in the high court in 2009 that 8% of homosexuals were HIV-infected, the bench sought to know the latest figure on the LGBT population and those infected with HIV.

The government submitted a written note according to which there were an estimated 23.9 lakh people infected with HIV in India in 2009. While 83% of the HIV-infected were in the age group of 15-49 years, 3.5% of them were children below 15 years, it said, adding women accounted for 39% of all HIV infections.

Among the states, Andhra Pradesh (five lakh), Maharashtra (4.2 lakh), Karnataka (2.5 lakh) and Tamil Nadu (1.5 lakh) accounted for 55% of all HIV infections in India.

West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were estimated to have more than one lakh people living with HIV/AIDS each and together accounted for another 22% HIV infections in the country, the government said.