Homosexuality should be seen in the context of changing society as many things which were earlier unacceptable have become acceptable with passage of time, the Supreme Court observed on Thursday.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya, which is hearing a bunch of appeals filed against decriminalisation of gay sex, said that these things should be seen in the light of changing times where phenomena of live-in relationship, single parents and artificial fertilisation have become normal.
"Recent phenomena of live-in relationship, single parents, surrogacy. There is a case where a man is unmarried but wants to be a father and engage a surrogate mother. Thirty-forty years ago it was against the order of nature but now artificial fertilisation is a thriving business," the bench said.
It also pointed out that many things, which were considered immoral twenty years back, have become acceptable to society now.
"The society is changing," the bench said adding that gay sex was not an offence prior to 1860 and referred to paintings and sculptures of Khajuraho.
Senior Advocate Amrendra Sharan, who is opposing the Delhi High Court's verdict of decriminalising gay sex on behalf of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Right, submitted that social issues cannot be decided on the basis of sculptures.
The bench, however, observed that it is a reflection of society of that time and homosexuality should not be seen only in terms of sexual intercourse.
Earlier, the bench had asked the anti-gay rights groups, challenging legalisation of gay sex to explain how such acts are against the order of nature as submitted by them.
The top court was hearing petitions filed by anti-gay rights activists and also by political, social and religious organisations which have opposed the Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising homosexual behaviour.
The bench would continue hearing the case on Friday. On February 7 last, the bench had refused to implead the armed forces in the case on the contentious issue.
People and organisations from different fields have come out in support of or against the path-breaking verdict of the High Court which had sparked a controversy.
Several political, social and religious outfits have asked the Supreme Court to give the final verdict on the issue.
Senior BJP leader B P Singhal, who had opposed in the High Court legalisation of gay sex, has challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court saying such acts are illegal, immoral and against ethos of Indian culture.
Religious organisations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance have also opposed the High Court's verdict.
Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Right, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munn Kazhgam, astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal and yoga guru Ramdev have also opposed the verdict in the top court.