No gay sex, please, government tells court

October 1st, 2008 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) The government Wednesday came out strongly against gay sex, saying it was “against the order of the nature”, and said that Western values could not be blindly aped in India.“We cannot compel our society to follow the trend of Western society,” Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra told the Delhi High Court while countering the submission of gay activists’ counsel who cited laws in various countries including Canada, South Africa and Cyprus.

The counsel was making a plea to decriminalise gay sex in private among consenting adults.

“There is no concept of sexual orientation in the Indian constitution,” Malhotra said.

He added that the right to privacy of MSMs (man having sex with man) was not absolute and the interest of the larger society had to taken into consideration.

“Gay sex is against the order of the nature. We will disturb the nature by allowing (gay sex). In the compelling circumstances, the state has to take the help of the law to maintain public morality,” Malhotra said.

Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar wanted to know what was the compelling state interest to continue with legal provisions that provide for life imprisonment for those indulging in gay sex.

If there was such a stringent law, would MSMs come forward for treatment of HIV, the bench asked.

The government contended that these problems could be easily tackled by educating people and there was no need to scrap the legal provisions against gay sex.

“How are you educating people to coexist with people who are not like them. Are you telling them to view these people as doing things which are against the order of the nature,” the court said.

The Indian Penal Code terms homosexual acts as an offence under section 377, which provides for punishment up to life imprisonment.

The government had earlier taken a contradictory stand, with the home ministry favouring section 377 and the health ministry opposing its enforcement in the case of consenting adults.

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