Govt reviews law against homosexuality
Vineeta Pandey / DNA
Saturday, June 27, 2009 2:37 IST
New Delhi: After years of procrastination, the government has finally decided that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) needs to be reviewed. The section bans sexual relationships among people
There is a move from the government's side. We are re-looking at the law. The Union home minister (P Chidambaram) has invited health minister (Ghulam Nabi Azad), home ministers of all states and me for consultations," Union law minister M Veerappa Moily
said on Friday.
A petition challenging arrests under the law is pending in the Delhi high court (HC), where the health and home ministries were at loggerheads over decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Former home minister Shivraj Patil and former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss had taken conflicting stands in court. Upset over the squabbling, prime minister Manmohan Singh had directed the ministers to resolve their differences.
Terming the matter 'serious', the HC, too, had told the government to sort the matter out at the earliest. While Moily refused to express his views on repealing section 377, saying the matter was sub judice, he made it clear that the ministries would no longer take conflicting stands.
Incidentally, Delhi will host the second gay pride march on Sunday. Anjali Gopalan of Naz Foundation, which filed a public interest litigation challenging the legality of the section, welcomed the move.
The home ministry is against a change in the law, arguing that homosexuality is not accepted by 'Indian society' and repealing the law would "open the floodgates of delinquent behaviour". It says this is the only law against child abuse and male rape.
But the health ministry has argued that homosexuals are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, hence the discrimination against them should end.
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