In yet another victory for the gay rights activists, the Supreme Court has refused to stay the Delhi High Court’s historic verdict legalising gay sex between consenting adults after the Centre said it was not in favour of staying the order.
A bench headed by CJI K.G. Balakrishnan said there was no threat of any penal consequences. “…we would have considered staying the judgment if there were penal consequences…” the bench said on Monday rejecting the petitioner’s, Suresh Kumar Kaushal, concern that if the verdict was not stayed it would have far-reaching consequences for the Indian society.
Kaushal was represented by his counsel Praveen Agrawal.
Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati clarified that the government did not want the apex court to stay the HC’s verdict.
The HC had on July 2 read down the archaic Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and decriminalised homosexuality.
Vahanvati said the verdict was of a limited nature and therefore, there was no need for a stay on the verdict.
Agrawal expressed surprise over the submission and said that the Centre had opposed legalizing gay sex before the order. He warned that it could lead to gay marriages.
Vahanvati responded by saying that the government was reconsidering its stand and that the different ministries were involved in the process of formulating the Centre’s response.
The apex court has given the Centre eight weeks to file its response to Kaushal’s petition.
Reacting to the developments, Law Minister Moily said: “Government’s law officer will spell out our stand in the court at an appropriate time.”