Parliament, not court, can decide on homosexuality: counsel

December 2nd, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) The central government, in a written submission before the Delhi High Court Tuesday, questioned the power of judiciary to legalise homosexuality in the country. “The court is not the authority to decide what should be the law or what should not be the law,” it said.Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra, in his 100-page written submission, said: “The court is not the authority to decide what should be the law or what should not be the law. These are the functions of parliament and its members will decide on the issue. They know the will of their people, the difficulties of their people.”

The government’s submission came on a public interest petition filed by gay rights activists seeking the court’s direction for legalising gay sex among consenting adults in private.

At present, gay sex is an offence in the country and section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provides a punishment up to life imprisonment for indulging in such an act.

“What are the laws and what could be the law should be left to the wisdom of parliament. Neither the courts are equipped nor is it the function of the court to decide what the law should be. The courts have only to interpret the law as it is,” said Malhotra.

“It is a serious question of culture and morality of the society and the court should not interpret our constitution in such a manner to thrust foreign culture in India where the morality standards are not as high as in India,” he contended.

The court Nov 7 reserved the judgement on the plea of gay-rights activists and asked the government and other parties opposing the plea to file their written submission.

Gay rights activists contended that the government by not decriminalising homosexual acts was infringing upon their fundamental right to equality on the ground of morality.

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