Jaitley calls for revisiting SC’s gay sex verdict | india | Hindustan Times
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Jaitley calls for revisiting SC’s gay sex verdict

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said courts in the country have always upheld and defended the right to free speech and expression.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2015 23:41 IST
New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks in Rajya Sabha during winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo / TV GRAB(PTI11_27_2015_000048A)
New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks in Rajya Sabha during winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo / TV GRAB(PTI11_27_2015_000048A)(PTI)

The 2013 Supreme Court judgment that criminalised consensual gay sex was not correct and needs to be reconsidered, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday.

“When you have millions of people involved in this (gay sex) you can’t nudge them off,” the minister said at an event.

The Supreme Court had restored the 1860-era ban on homosexuality in December 2013 when it set aside a Delhi high court verdict that de-criminalised gay sex between consenting adults in 2009. The Supreme Court felt this was a call that should be taken by the legislature, not the judiciary.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code had stipulated a jail term of up to 10 years for people convicted of “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.

Over the next one year, police across the country registered 385 criminal cases against consenting adults for gay sex under this law.

Jaitley said the court’s view would have been relevant about 50 years ago but “as jurisprudence world over is evolving, I think the judgment was not correct and probably, at some stage, they may have to reconsider”.

Gay rights activists have argued that official crime statistics never did tell the horror stories of abuse. They argue that extortion and blackmail of gays who had not come out of the closet had gone up after the Supreme Court verdict.

The SC decision had placed India back in the company of 76-odd countries, including Pakistan, Uganda and Saudi Arabia, which also outlaw homosexuality.