Live: Govt to legislate against criminalising homosexuality?

We track the latest developments on the Supreme Court's verdict on whether the Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising homosexuality should be upheld.

Arun George December 11, 2013 18:08:59 IST
Live: Govt to legislate against criminalising homosexuality?

8.10 pm: Govt to legislate against criminalising homosexuality?

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.

6.41 pm: Full text of the SC judgement on Article 377

The Supreme Court today held that it won't decriminalise homosexual sex.

In its judement the Supreme court has said, "We declare that Section 377 IPC, insofar it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private, is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The provisions of Section 377 IPC will continue to govern non-consensual penile non-vaginal sex and penile nonvaginal sex involving minors."

"Secondly, we clarify that our judgment will not result in the re-opening of criminal cases involving Section 377 IPC that have already attained finality,” it said.

Here is a copy of the judgement:

SC Verdict on Article 377 by Firstpost

6.24 pm: Nandita Das, Amol Palekar argue against verdict

Actors Amol Palekar and Nandita Das today expressed displeasure over the SC verdict on Article 377.

Amol Palekar said,"How are a progressive society if we keep taking steps backward." He quoted from his film and said, "Is it a fight between what is right and what is wrong or a fight between majority and the minority?"

6.15 pm: Great day for prejudice, bad day for love, says Vikram Seth

Writer Vikram Seth today expressed sadness over the Supreme Court verdict saying it was a day for prejudice and a sad day for love.

"It's a great day for prejudice and bad day for law and love. Rights aren't conferred by the SC, they exist in the Constitution," said Seth.

"The bench claims it is the province of the Parliament to decide such issues, it is the SC that is the arbitrator of the human rights. I hope a larger bench of the SC will wash away the stain, from the court," he said.

2:10 pm: Baba Ramdev welcomes SC verdict, promises to 'cure' homosexuals

Baba Ramdev's back and he's back to making wild claims.

"I invite the gay community to my yoga ashram and I guarantee to cure them of homosexuality," he said at a press conference.

He also questioned the contribution of the gay community in streams like science and economics and also said that he would pray that all the journalists present at the press conference would not 'turn' into homosexuals.

The yoga guru is also giving advice to the Aam Aadmi Party and has said that it should form the government in Delhi with the Congress.

According to him, Arvind Kejriwal is not forming the government because he cannot deliver on the promises that he had made.

1:35pm: Will protest despite police telling us not to, says activist

Gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi said that the gay community had planned a protest rally in Delhi but had been denied permission by the police.

"The police has said that if anyone protests against the Supreme Court judgement will be arrested," he said.

"No one is going back into the closet... We will protest with black flags at Jantar Mantar at 4:30 pm," he said.

1:20 pm: SC verdict makes gay community vulnerable to harassment, says lawyer

Speaking at a press conference after the Supreme Court verdict, lawyer Anand Grover said the apex court's judgement was like the apex court judgement on the Emergency its verdict in the Mathura case.

"We don't know the reasons. We are disappointed after 13 years of struggle. The community is very apprehensive. Will they be jailed now?" he said.

"We will take recourse to all measures. The judgement in my opinion is wrong," he said.

Anand Narayan, who represented the group Voices Against 377 in the Supreme Court said that he was deeply disappointed.

"The verdict has withdrawn the protective arm of the constitution from the LGBT community. It makes the community vulnerable to harassment," he said.

"This is a tragedy. It forgets that the Constitution says that majority does not discriminate against the minority. Today is a deep betrayal of our constitutional faith," he said.

The lawyer said that this was the "lowest ebb in the history of the Supreme Court".

"Equal protection is non-negotiable," he said.

12:55 pm: Will take action if warranted, says Manish Tewari

"After going through the judgement,if at all any action is warranted from the government then will take it up," Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari told ANI

12:50 pm: Go to a five bench SC court, advises Harish Salve









12:45 pm: Baba Ramdev scheduled to hold press conference

Baba Ramdev is reportedly set to hold a press conference at 2 pm in which he is expected to speak on the Supreme Court verdict. Ramdev's associate was one of the petitioners in the case who had sought that the Delhi High Court verdict be struck down.

Ramdev has in the past has rather uncomplimentary things to say about homosexuality, it may be a little to early to expect a change in stance.

12: 45 pm: 'All gains made in 15 years have been erased' says activist

"Somewhere in the mind of the average Indian homosexuality is equated with paedophilia. There seems to be a kind of paranoia. I can't understand this," Anjali Gopalan from the Naz foundation told Firstpost's Pallavi Polanki.

Speaking about the impact of the verdict, Gopalan said,"This could lead to a backlash against the community. The police will crack down with added viciousness. It's frightening what is going to happen. "

"All the gains made in the last 15 years have been erased. The clock has been turned back," she said.

Other's were more critical of the Supreme Court verdict.

"I am ashamed to be an Indian today," transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi said.

12:20 pm: Govt respects SC's verdict, says Sibal

"Supreme Court is the final arbiter, it has to be respected by the government," Law Minister Kapil Sibal said when asked for a reaction to the Supreme Court's verdict.

"We have the prerogative to make laws. Let us exercise that prerogative," he said and refused to comment on it.

When asked whether Parliament would take up the constitutional amendment, Sibal said," If Parliament runs we will take it up."

11:52 am: Baba Ramdev's associate welcomes verdict

Associate of Baba Ramdev and a petitioner in the case, SK Tijarawala welcomed the Supreme Court verdict.

"This is a historic judgment, where the Supreme Court has ruled to in favour of the traditions and values of Indian culture," Tijarawala said.

"Indians all over the world are happy today that their heritage has been properly respected," he said.

11:50 am: JD(U) MP says Delhi HC verdict was more scientific and thoughtful

Janata Dal (United) MP Shivanand Tiwari has said that he did not support the Supreme Court verdict.

"I think that the Delhi High Court order was much scientific and thoughtful," he said.

11:40 am: 'Only a bump in the road', says gay rights activist

Voices Against 377, a group that fought for decriminalising homosexual sex, said this was only a 'bump in the road' in their struggle.

"We are very sad. People of this country are progressive, we have tons of support. This is only a bump in the road," Mario Depnha told Firstpost's Pallavi Polanki.

"India as a country is moving forward. We have lots of support from parents. This is a setback," he said.

11:30 am: ASG says SC has lost a historical opportunity

Historical opportunity to expand constitutional values has been lost, Attorney Solicitor General Indira Jaising said.

"The verdict goes counter to the spirit of the constitution," she said.

11:30 am: All India Muslim Law Board welcomes Supreme Court verdict

"The Supreme Court has given this verdict to maintain the culture of this country. I don't know the exact text of the judgement though," Zafaryab Jilani of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board told ANI.

"Some people wanted to live their lives in any manner they deemed fit and the Supreme Court has deemed it wrong," he said.

He said that a small minority wanted the entire system of the country changed which he was strongly opposed to.

"They are just 1 percent of the population and they want all kinds of rights including roaming around naked, which the Supreme Court has struck down," he said.

We had pointed out that homosexuality is not only against all religions but against the moral fibre of the country, he said.

11:20 am: Reasoning of vedict still not known

Unfortunately in this case we don't have the judgement and are still unaware of the reasoning that the Supreme Court has used to arrive at this verdict.

"I was quite confident till this morning that it would be upheld. To say I am disappointed is an understatement," Derek O'Brien, TMC's Rajya Sabha MP, told CNN-IBN.

He also said that it would affect gay rights in the country.

11:15 am: There is no question of morality in this case, says rights activist

"For the first time all groups are being driven under the carpet by the Supreme Court," Ashok Row Kavi, from the Humsaafar Trust, said.

He said that for the first time that the Supreme Court had taken away the rights of people and would affect health programmes that aided the queer community.

"There is no question of morality in this case," he said.

Meanwhile Firstpost's Pallavi Polanki who is at the Supreme Court said that gay rights activists said that they are "angry and disappointed with the verdict".

"We will not take this lying down," one of them told her.

11:05 am: Amnesty India says SC verdict marks a black day for freedom in India

The ruling by India’s Supreme Court making consensual same-sex conduct between adults a criminal offence marks a black day for freedom in India, Human rights group Amnesty International India said today.

“This decision is a body blow to people’s rights to equality, privacy and dignity,” G Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India, said in a statement.

"It is hard not to feel let down by this judgement, which has taken India back several years in its commitment to protect basic rights," he said

11:00 am Lawyer for Naz Foundation says they aren't hopeful of Parliament

Anand Grover, who represented the Naz Foundation, said that they weren't hopeful about Parliament passing legislation to ensure that gay sex isn't illegal.

"Parliament is not going to assemble for six months and then they will take another six months to pass legislation so its not a viable option," Grover said.

However, he said that it wasn't the end of the battle for them.

"We have a just cause and will use all the means necessary to get our rights," Grover said.

10:45 am: Filmmaker Onir says its regrettable that the law has been upheld

"It is sad that an over 100 year law has been upheld," the filmmaker told CNN-IBN.

10:45 am: Twitter erupts after Supreme Court verdict






10:35 am: NGO representing gay men says they will appeal

"We are very disappointed, we will take action, this is a huge step back," said Anand Grover, who represented the Naz Foundation, one of the respondents in the case.

"We don't know the precise reasoning...Whether other things have been said is not clear," he said.

If the Delhi High Court is set aside it is indeed a setback and we will take all steps to appeal, the lawyer said.

10:30 am: Supreme Court sets aside Delhi High court's verdict decriminalising homosexuality

The Supreme Court has set aside the Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising homosexuality.

The Supreme Court observed that the it was not for the courts to decide the matter and hoped that Parliament would take up the matter.

"It is for legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC," the Supreme Court said.

10:00 am: SC set to decide on decriminalising Section 377

The Supreme Court will today pronounce its verdict on petitions challenging Delhi High court judgment decriminalise homosexual acts among consenting adults in private.

A bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice SJ Mukhopadhaya will deliver the verdict on a bunch of petitions of anti-gay right activists, social and religious organisations against the high court's 2009 verdict decriminalising homosexual acts.

Incidentally, the judgement will be pronounced by justice Singhvi on the day he retires. The bench had reserved its order in March 2012 after granting day-to-day hearing of the case from 15 February, 2012.

Live Govt to legislate against criminalising homosexuality


The Delhi high court had on 2 July, 2009, decriminalised homosexual intercourse as provided in section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and ruled that such sex between two consenting adults in private would not be an offence.

Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC makes homosexual acts a criminal offence, entailing punishment up to life term.

Decriminalising homosexuality among consenting adults in private the High Court had said,"We declare that Section 377 IPC, insofar it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private, is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The provisions of Section 377 IPC will continue to govern non-consensual penile non-vaginal sex and penile non-vaginal sex involving minors. By 'adult' we mean everyone who is 18 years of age and above. A person below 18 would be presumed not to be able to consent to a sexual act."

The verdict was challenged by one Suresh Kumar Koushal, an astrologer, followed by other private individuals and several other bodies representing religious groups like the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Among those who have fought for the Delhi High court verdict to be upheld are the Naz Foundation, filmmaker Shyam Benegal and other groups.

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