PM asks Cabinet colleagues to sort out rift over gay laws

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has intervened in the intra-Cabinet war between home minister Mr Shivraj Patil and health minister Dr Ambumani Ramadoss over the question of legalising homosexuality, asking the two ministers to sit down and sort out the issue.

The issue figured at todays Cabinet meeting in the wake of Delhi High Court hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the legality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which bans sexual relations among people of the same gender. While the home ministry wants the penal provision to continue, saying that it is in keeping with Indian tradition, the health ministry has argued for decriminalising homosexuality on the grounds that it impedes the battle against HIV/AIDS.

The court had yesterday pulled up the Centre for relying on religious texts to justify the prohibition on gay sex in the country and asked for scientific reports to justify it.

Statesman News Service

“In India about 86 per cent HIV/AIDS affected persons are men having sex with men (MSM) and it is increasing. According to the IPC, a doctor treating such a person for HIV/AIDS can be jailed as it is an offence and so can be the case with a social worker who can also be jailed,” Dr Ramadoss said.

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