Ignore Ramadoss’s stand on gays: Govt to HC

It’s a case that is being closely watched around the country. The Delhi High Court is nearing the end of daily hearings on a petition that seeks to legalise homosexuality, which continues to be a crime in India inviting a life sentence.

Last week, the court had some scathing words for the Centre which has argued that homosexuality can create law and order problems. The judge asked: "How can something that happens in private breach public peace?"

The case has also exposed a huge divide in the government. The Health Ministry wants homosexuality legalised but the Home Ministry does not. Meanwhile, replying to the question raised by the HC, the Centre has said that ignore the stand of the Health Ministry on homosexuality issue.

It also said that laws made by Parliament prevail over the views of a particular ministry.

Neha Khanna, for NDTV.com

The Indian Penal Code as we know it today was formulated by the British way back in 1860. It was then that Section 377 was also introduced.

Interestingly, the UK government repealed this law in 1967 and those fighting the law say it’s high time the Indian government followed suit.

The Centre says homosexuality will cause adverse health impacts. So the court asked if the health of a section of the society is being affected due to Section 377 why don’t you address the issue?

The Centre’s responded saying, "We have to think about the rest whose health will be affected if homosexuality is legalized."

But the Health Ministry wants to make homosexuality non-punishable as the latest figures from NACO show an estimated 22 million men in India have sex with men and around 10 per cent of them are believed to be vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.

During earlier arguments, the court had questioned the Centre’s views against homosexuality and even called them outdated.

The Centre’s view that homosexuality could cause more HIV/AIDS patients even made the court remark: "Then why don’t you ban sexual intercourse altogether?"

Activists say that Section 377 goes against fundamental rights.

"I think this fight is about human rights. This fight is about privacy, dignity and equality," said Sumit Baudh, an activist from Voices Against 377.

As per current laws, homosexuality can invite punishment up to life term. And as the court gets ready to deliver its verdict the interest in the ongoing debate is getting stronger than ever before.



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