Centre told to give details on NACO partners

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to furnish details on organisations working for the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhyaya told Additional Solicitor General Mohan Jain to furnish information on over 35 such organisations by Thursday morning.

“NACO is a division of the Health Ministry. We would like to have complete information as to the details of the organisations being used by it to prevent the spread of the AIDS/HIV and the criteria for their employment,” the court saidThe bench was hearing petitions filed against the Delhi High Court’s verdict decriminalising gay sex among consenting adults by reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The apex court also criticised government’s stand on the issue after a counsel representing the Muslim Personal Law Board questioned the submission of government’s law officer opposing the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

“How could the government oppose its own penal provision being implemented under its own sovereign,”  counsel said.

To this, the court said: “It is a new phenomenon. The state (government) says that it is neutral on the issue. The Additional Solicitor General says that he has got instruction from Attorney General to say so in the court.”

During the day-long hearing, different social and religious organisations, including the Utkal Christian Council, Apostolic Churches Alliance and Krantikari Manuvadi Morcha opposed the HC’s judgment.

Senior advocate K Radhakrishnan, appearing for an intervenor, submitted that an infinitesimal minority could not dilute IPC’s Section 377.

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