Government files review plea against Supreme Court's order on gay sex

Government files review plea against Supreme Court's order on gay sex

Members of the LGBT community protest against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. (AFP photo)

New Delhi The government today filed a review petition against the Supreme Court's order restoring a colonial era ban on gay sex in India, calling it "erroneous" and against the principal of equality and liberty.

The Centre's petition asks for an open hearing in the case. The government says it backed the high court's view and that was why it didn't move court against it.

"The Govt has filed the review petition on #377 in the Supreme Court today. Let's hope the right to personal choices is preserved," Law Minister Kapil Sibal tweeted.

Last week, the top court had set aside a Delhi High Court verdict from 2009 saying that statute - Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code - which outlaws sex "against the order of nature" is constitutionally valid. Conviction carries a fine and a maximum 10-year jail sentence.

The Delhi High Court had said Section 377 is a violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Religious groups appealed against its decision in the Supreme Court.

The top court's bench was headed by GS Singhvi; the verdict came on the last day before his retirement.

"It is up to Parliament to legislate on this issue," Justice Singhvi had said.

In its review petition, the Centre has said that the Supreme Court's approach is misconceived; once a law is declared unconstitutional Parliament has no further role to play

Although prosecutions under section 377 have been rare, gay activists have said that the police used the law to harass and intimidate members of their community. The Centre also says in its review plea that low conviction cannot be used as an argument to determine constitutionality of a law.
Story First Published: December 20, 2013 13:27 IST

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