Govt takes initiative, files review petition on Section 377 in SC

After the Congress-led UPA voiced its disappointment with the Supreme Court's verdict that criminalised homosexual relations, the central government today filed a review petition in the apex court.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal today tweeted the development today:

 

The petition comes in response to the Supreme Court verdict that struck down a Delhi High Court judgement, effectively recriminalising homosexuality and saying that it was upto Parliament to amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

Gay rights activists welcomed the government's move.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The Central government during the hearing of the petition in the Supreme Court had backed the Delhi High Court verdict and said that the contentious legislation was the result of British colonialism.

During the hearing in the Supreme Court, the central government had changed its stance with one ministry supporting Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code while another saying that the government was opposed to it. The apex court bench had criticised the central government for its differing stance and said its approach to the matter had been too casual.

In its judgment upholding Section 377, the Supreme Court had pointed out that it had merely examined the legality of the law and said Parliament could make changes to the law if needed.

However, the centre may have realised that given the lack of political consensus and a barely functional Parliament it might be better to approach the apex court itself.

The Congress has come out in opposition to the Supreme Court verdict, while the BJP has backed it.

"These are matters of personal freedom, I would agree with the (Delhi) High Court more on this matter," Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had also said she was disappointed with the verdict and Law Minister Kapil Sibal said the government would consider taking action against it.

The BJP, however, said that it will not back any move against the Supreme Court verdict.

"We will state (at an all-party meeting if it is called) that we support Section 377 because we believe that homosexuality is an unnatural act and cannot be supported," Rajnath Singh had said.

Gay rights groups had said that they would appeal against the apex court verdict but haven't filed a petition yet.