Homosexuality ruling: Govt hints at legislative route

Homosexuality ruling: Govt hints at legislative route

Amid an uproar over Supreme Court ruling that gay sex is illegal, the government today hinted at taking the legislative route to address the issue but made it clear that any such action will take time.

"It is the prerogative of the Supreme Court under the Constitution to test the constitutionality of a law. They are exercising their prerogative. We have the prerogative to make laws. We shall exercise our prerogative," Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here.

He was replying to questions on the apex court order setting aside a Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising gay sex between consenting adult partners.

The apex court in its verdict put the ball in Parliament's court to decide on the desirability of deleting the relevant section from Indian Penal Code.

Asked how soon the government would bring the matter in Parliament, Sibal said: "Well, if Parliament runs, we shall take it up."

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, however, said a move to bring a legislation to amend Section 377 of IPC may face opposition in Parliament as there is no political consensus.

"The legislation will take time as there is no consensus," he told reporters here.
Sources said the government was ready to examine whether there are merits to bring a legislation in Parliament to amend Section 377 criminalising homosexuality if the aggrieved party sends representation for it.

However, they said many political parties and religious groups were against decriminalisation of same sex relations.

Even if any organisation approaches the government with a representation to repeal Section 377, it is impossible to bring the amendment bill in the current session of Parliament which comes to an end on December 20, the sources said.

Since the next session of Parliament will only be convened for a limited period and for approval of vote on account, there will be no scope for such a Bill, they said.

Hence, such a legislation could be brought only after the general elections and depending on the views of the next government, they said.

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