“Centre trying to reconcile opinions”

July 24, 2008 12:00 am | Updated October 09, 2016 12:15 pm IST

Staff Reporter

Legal sanction for homosexuality sough by voluntary organisation

NEW DELHI: The Union Government on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that it was trying to reconcile differing opinions between the Home Affairs Ministry and the Health and Family Welfare Ministry on a public interest litigation by voluntary organisation Naaz Foundation seeking legal sanction for homosexuality through repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code whereby the practice of unnatural sex has been made a criminal offence and punishable.

Additional Solicitor-General P. P. Malhotra conveyed this to a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A. P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar. He submitted that the Government would file a fresh affidavit in the event of a reconciliation. The Home Ministry favours retention of the penal provision for homosexual acts while the Health and Family Welfare Ministry is against the enforcement of Section 377 in cases involving consenting adults.

The Home Ministry argued that if the relevant Section were deleted it would open the floodgates for delinquent behaviour and be misconstrued as providing an unbridled licence for the same.

The matter has come to the High Court from the Supreme Court that had asked the High Court in 2006 to hear the matter afresh.

The Naaz Foundation, which works among sex workers here to make them aware about AIDS, had approached the Supreme Court following dismissal of its petition in the High Court in February 2004.

The organisation has sought striking down of the penal provision saying that it violates Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.

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