The government seems highly inclined to back the Delhi High Court order legalising homosexuality among consenting adults.
The group of three ministers — P. Chidambaram (home), M. Veerappa Moily (law) and Ghulam Nabi Azad (health) — set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to analyse the historic verdict of July 2 met on Tuesday evening and decided to convey their view to the Union Cabinet, which will take the final call.
“We have critically analysed the court judgment and decided to place our view before the Cabinet soon,” Moily said.
HT has learnt that the Law Ministry note that was discussed at the meeting and agreed upon states that the judgment is based on sound logic and appears “infallible”.
Chidambaram said there was a lot of misinformation about what the court order had held on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, under which homosexuality in India has been a crime for 150 years. "One example is that the judgment has struck down Section 377; that is not correct," he said.
Moily said the three ministers analysed what the court had said and what it had not. "The only question is decriminalization of private consensual sex between two adults. Section 377 was not abrogated by the court, it remains," he said
He rejected the suggestion that the government was contemplating a move to completely repeal Section 377 from the statute books and make rape a "gender-neutral" offence. "No such move is under consideration. We are not sitting in judgement," he said.
The government has been treading with extreme caution on the issue, given the resistance to the court ruling from religious leaders of all faiths.
The government has to inform Supreme Court about its stand before September 14, the next date of hearing on appeals filed against the high court judgment.