The Supreme Court on Monday posted for final hearing on April 19 a batch of petitions challenging a Delhi High Court judgment declaring Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional and decriminalising unnatural sex among consenting adults.
A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly granted eight weeks' time to the Centre (which has not spelt out its stand on the issue so far) and other parties, including interveners, to complete the pleadings and file written submissions and posted the matter for hearing on April 19.
The petitioners, Suresh Kumar Koshal, an astrologer, and Dr. Mukesh Kumar Koshal, submitted in their Special Leave Petitions that they were deeply hurt by the judgment “inasmuch as it seriously affects them and fellow countrymen in all spheres of their lives, personal as well as social.” A rampant increase in homosexual movement after the impugned order could not be ruled out.
The judgments in various countries that permitted homosexuality, which was relied upon by the High Court, were rendered in a different set of social, economic, constitutional and cultural background.
“Application of those principles ipso facto, without any reference to the background and circumstances leading thereto, is itself a sufficient ground for striking down the impugned judgment.”
They said the judgment would result in spread of HIV virus “as it has been amply proven that the infection was contracted through such sexual acts. We have to look at our own scriptures to seek guidance and they are against such behaviour in our society. If such abnormality is permitted, then tomorrow people might seek permission for having sex with animals.”
The petitioners said: “The High Court completely lost sight of the fact that the Indian society still remains, by and large, a conservative and primitive society and shining nature of Indian societies found in Metros [which is less than 6 to 7 per cent] cannot represent the whole of India.”
The Bench declined the request to implead the Defence Ministry as a necessary party.