The government is no hurry to take a final decision on whether to challenge the Delhi High Court judgment which has legalised homosexual acts between consenting adults.
“Let me examine the court judgment. We need to look at the details of the judgment,” Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said.
The court has made it clear that “consensual homosexual acts of consenting adults in private” are now legal and this clarification will hold till Parliament chooses to amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
The judgment, has therefore, saved the government from taking a stand on the controversial matter.
Since major political parties — the Congress and BJP — have desisted from making public their views on the issue, the government is likely to go slow on the matter.
Stiff opposition from religious groups on recent attempts by the UPA government to repeal or amend the Section 377 recently forced it to beat a hasty retreat.
The government, had in its first term, strongly opposed the Naz Foundation petition in the Delhi High Court.
The hearing on the matter had brought out sharp differences between the home and health ministries on the issue. While the former was against repealing Section 377, the latter had supported the petition.
The government stand was finally made clear by the law ministry, which categorically stated that there was no question of legalising homosexuality.
However, after winning a second term in May, there appeared to be a change in the UPA government’s stand.
With new ministers coming in, the government appeared willing to take a re-look at the issue. A meeting between the home, health and law ministers was also planned.
Home Minister P Chidambaram and Moily were understood to be in favour of reviewing the controversial IPC section, but Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad favoured a “consensus through debate in the country”.