The Delhi High Court on Monday pulled up the Centre for terming homosexual trait a “disease”.
“Show us one report which says that it is a disease. A WHO paper says that it’s not a disease, but you are describing it as a disease. It is an accepted fact that it is a main vehicle that causes AIDS, but it is not a disease itself,” a bench of Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar said.
The bench, also comprising Justice S Muralidhar, took a strong exception to the government’s contention and said the matter (pertaining to legalising homosexuality) is still under consideration and the Centre should not make such a submission.
The court’s observation came when Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra, appearing for the Centre, contended that homosexuality is a disease that is responsible for spreading AIDS.
“AIDS is spreading and if gay sex is legalised, then people on the streets would indulge in it saying that the high court has given approval for it,” Malhotra said.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by gay rights activists seeking decriminalisation of gay sex among consenting adults, which at present is an offence.
According to Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, a person indulging in gay sex can get up to life imprisonment.
Describing homosexuality as “the most indecent behaviour” in society, the Centre submitted that homosexuals comprise only 0.3 per cent of the population and the right of rest 99.7 per cent population cannot be compromised for them.
“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,” Malhotra said, adding that allowing gay sex would pose a health hazard to society.
He also countered the gay rights activists’ contention who had earlier pleaded that gay sex should be legalised in the country as many countries in Asia and Europe have done so.
“Our moral and ethical values are different,” Malhotra retorted.
With PTI inputs.