'Religious texts can’t justify prohibition of gay sex' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Religious texts can’t justify prohibition of gay sex'

delhi Updated: Oct 15, 2008 22:45 IST

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday slammed the Centre for relying on views of religious books and scholars worldwide to justify the prohibition on gay sex when it was asked to come up with solid scientific material to bolster their case.

The court’s remarks came when Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra referred to articles written by religious scholars and even went to the extent of quoting the Bible.

The Centre was asked to explain how decriminalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults would result in spread of AIDS as contended by it.

“We should not accept religious literature instead of scientific report,” a Bench of Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar said.

“These are not scientific reports. These are articles quoting Bible, which is propaganda. Your arguments should be based on scientific reports. Show us scientific reports which justify criminalisation of such acts (gay sex),” the Bench observed.

The Bench asked the government to place before it the reports of the World Health Organisation on the issue of health hazards arising out of criminalisation of gay sex.

“We are not taking it (religious literature). We will be going by your report submitted by the NACO. We would rely on NACO report. You can counter it by some scientific report. Show us what the World Health Organisation says on the issue. We can rely on those scientific reports,” the Bench said.

“I am not saying that you cannot quote Bible but show us scientific report. The entire article you are referring to quotes the religious text. This is the opinion of a traditional religious body. It’s a religious view of a certain body which cannot be relied upon,” the chief justice said, adding that this is just one-sided version of a religious body.

The court told Malhotra that the Centre, in the name of preventing the spread of AIDS by criminalising gay acts, could well put the health of 25 lakh-odd homosexuals in the country in danger.

The judges asked the government if it realised that fear of law enforcement agencies cut off homosexuals from intervention under the National AIDS Control Programme. The Centre was reminded that its own Health Ministry had stressed on the issue.