Delhi HC verdict on penal provision of gay sex likely today | india | Hindustan Times
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Delhi HC verdict on penal provision of gay sex likely today

india Updated: Jul 02, 2009 21:45 IST

PTI
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The Delhi High Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Thursday on the controversial penal provision on homosexuality even as the government is grappling with the option to scrap it from the statute.

A bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar had reserved its order on November 7 last year after marathon proceedings in which the governemnt had vociferously opposed scrapping of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which prescribes punishment upto life imprisonment for indulging in unnatural sexual acts.

Before the judgement was reserved, the Ministries concerned with the issue in the prevoious UPA government had unanimously described homosexuality as "the most indecent behaviour" in society.

The Centre had submitted that gay sex is immoral and reflection of a perverse mind and its decriminalisation would lead to moral degradation of society.

"Every citizen has the right to lead a decent and moral life in society and the right would be violated if such behaviour (gay sex) is legalised in the country," the government had contended adding allowing gay sex would pose a health hazard to society.

The Centre had said that homosexuals comprise only 0.3 per cent of the population and the right of rest 99.7 per cent of the population to lead a decent and moral life in society would be violated if such behaviour (gay sex) is legalised.

The gay rights activists, on the other hand, had contended that the government is infringing upon their fundamental right to equality by criminalising homosexual acts on the ground of morality.

"The Constitution gives fundamental right to equality and it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. But the rights of 25 lakh homosexuals in the country are being violated," they had contended.

Earlier, the government had put a contradictory stand on the issue with the Home Minister of the then UPA government favouring the retention of the penal provision for homosexual acts while the Health Minister opposed the enforcement of Section 377 in cases involving consenting adults.

But when the day-to-day hearing began on the case, the government set aside the stand of the Health Ministrty and opposed the plea of gay rights activists.