UN body, NHRC slam SC's gay sex ruling

The raging controversy over gay rights in India refuses to die down as UNAIDS and NHRC on Friday expressed “serious concerns” over the fallout of a Supreme Court verdict, which set aside a 2009 Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising gay sex.

UNAIDS said in a statement that through its recent decision on the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the Supreme Court had re-criminalised sexual relation between consenting adults belonging to the same sex.

Four years ago, the Delhi High Court had found unconstitutional application of the 150-year-old law criminalising “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” between consenting adults. But because of the apex court ruling, once again in India, gay and other men who had sex with men, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people faced the possibility of criminal prosecution, it said.

“The Delhi High Court decision in 2009 had restored dignity to millions of people in India, and was an example of the type of reform we need for supportive legal environments that are necessary for effective national AIDS responses,” said UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé.

Ever since the judgment came on December 11, health professionals and officials are worried on the consequences as the controversial ruling has the potential to drive the communities vulnerable from contracting HIV infections underground. Men having sex with men as well as transgenders are among the groups having high HIV risk.

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