Show scientific proof to ban homosexuality: courtOctober 15th, 2008 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday pulled up the government for using inadequate evidence to oppose decriminalisation of gay sex in private among consenting adults.Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra, while arguing before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar, cited a verse of the Bible condemning gay sex.
But the court did not seem to be convinced by the government’s contention and asked it to produce scientific evidence to justify the ban on homosexuality.
“Show us some scientific report which says that gay sex should be criminalised,” the bench observed.
The court also asked the government to place before it the reports of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the issue of health hazards arising out of criminalisation of gay sex.
“We are not taking it (religious literature). We will be going by your report submitted by NACO (National Aids Control Organisation). We would rely on that report. You can counter it by some scientific report,” the bench said.
The central government had previously argued during the case that repealing Section 377 would allow HIV/AIDS to spread, and that homosexuality is a reflection of a “perverse mind”.
“We cannot compel our society to follow the trend of western society. There is no concept of sexual orientation in the Indian constitution,” Malhotra 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.
The court was hearing a petition filed by 13 NGOs, including Naz Foundation, seeking the court’s direction to decriminalise homosexual acts among consenting adults by amending Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.