Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has called for a nationwide debate on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the wake of the Delhi High Court judgment that described criminalising homosexuality as a violation of human rights.

“It is a sensitive issue, particularly for a country like India, and therefore requires a wider debate,” chairperson Girija Vyas told reporters here on Saturday.

Ms. Vyas said the NCW held a limited debate on the issue while discussing amendments to laws on rape and related provisions, specifically, Sections 375 and 376 pertaining to the definition of sexual assault and punishments. “Then we had recommended repealing of the Section but that really was not our agenda. At that time we discussed Section 377 from the perspective of a small population it impacted, but now it involves the entire society,” she pointed out.

“The issue needs to be discussed at length,” Ms. Vyas said, adding the Commission had obtained a copy of the judgment and would study it in full before reaching any conclusion. “The judgment will have an impact on several other laws also,” she said.

Homosexuality is a crime: Lalu

PTI reports from Patna:

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Saturday denounced the court ruling.

“Gay sex should not be legalised at any cost, and the Centre should appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court,” he told journalists here.

“I am dead against legalisation of gay sex and will strongly raise the issue in Parliament. Section 377 of the IPC should not be amended.”

Asked whether homosexuality was still a crime, he said: “Yes, it is a crime. Such obscene acts should not be allowed in our country. Society is adversely affected. The government has a greater responsibility towards society. I don’t want to talk about such rubbish things. These are obscene things which our country and culture do not permit.”