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SC verdict on plea against decriminalizing gay sex tomorrow

Gay rights

The Centre earlier had informed the apex court that there is an estimated 25 lakh gay population and about seven per cent i.e.1.75 lakh of them are HIV-infected

Gay rightsNew Delhi: The Supreme Court will tomorrow pronounce its verdict on a bunch of petitions challenging the Delhi High Court judgment decriminalizing gay sex among consenting adults in private.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya will deliver the verdict on petitions of anti-gay right activists, social and religious organizations against the 2009 verdict of the high court, which decriminalized gay sex.

The judgment would be pronounced by Justice Singhvi on his last working day as he will be retiring tomorrow.

The bench had reserved its order in March last year after granting day-to-day hearing of the case from February 15, 2012.

While hearing the appeal, the apex court had pulled up the Centre for its “casual” approach on decriminalization of homosexuality and also expressed concern over the Parliament not discussing such important issues and blaming judiciary instead for its “over-reach”.

While pleading for decriminalization of gay sex, the Centre had subsequently told the court that the anti-gay law in the country had resulted from British colonialism and the Indian society was much more tolerant towards homosexuality.

The Delhi High Court had on July 2, in 2009 decriminalized gay sex as provided in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and had ruled that sex between two consenting adults in private would not be an offence.

Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC makes gay sex a criminal offence entailing punishment up to life term.

Senior BJP leader B P Singhal, who died in October last year, had challenged the high court verdict in the Supreme Court saying such acts are illegal, immoral and against the ethos of Indian culture.

Religious organizations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance too had challenged the judgment.

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Right, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munn Kazhgam, astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal and yoga guru Ramdev’s disciple had also opposed the verdict.

The Centre earlier had informed the apex court that there is an estimated 25 lakh gay population and about seven per cent i.e.1.75 lakh of them are HIV-infected.

In its affidavit, the Union health ministry had said that it was planning to bring four lakh high-risk ‘men who have sex with men (MSM)’ under its AIDS control program and it has already covered around two lakh of them.

PTI

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