Thiruvananthapuram/ New Delhi: A decision on repealing a colonial-era law which criminalises homosexuality would be taken only after consulting “all sections” of the society, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily said on Sunday.
The gay community demands repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which provides imprisonment of 10 years for unnatural sex, including that of homosexual nature, even between two consenting adults.
Home Minister P Chidambaram, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Moily are to hold a joint meeting to discuss the law, but the Law Minister appeared cautious about repealing it.
"The Cabinet has mandated to have a re-look at the provision. But we are not going to rush to any conclusion. We will certainly take into account concerns of all sections, including religious groups like Christian church," he told PTI in Thiruvananthapuram.
Moily did not announce a date for the ministerial meeting. "This is a matter now engaging a national debate. It is also before court, which has favoured the government to have a look at it. While having a holistic look, it could lead to a repeal of the Section in the IPC. It may also mean not repealing a particular Section," he said.
"We have to discuss all these questions before taking a final decision," he said.
BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS the law should not be changed in a “hurry”. "We are living in India, not in an European country. These issues are very important and sensitive. A thorough discussion is needed on this issue."
"Without detailed discussion (on the issue) with political parties, social activists and leaders, it is not advisable for the government to make changes in the law in a hurry," Naqvi said.
Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member M K Pandhe said his parties had not formed a decision on the issue. "Generally we don't support homosexuality but I cannot say further on the issue because our party has not discussed the matter," Pandhe told IANS.