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Rahul Gandhi disappointed with SC order on Section 377, says Delhi HC was correct

CNN-IBN
Dec 12, 2013 at 06:53pm IST

New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has slammed the Supreme Court verdict which upheld Indian Penal Code Section 377 and said the people should have the right of freedom of expression on this issue as well.

"My personal view is that these are matters left to individuals. I agree with (Delhi) high court's view on decriminalising gay sex," said the Congress leader in a brief press conference.

ALSO SEE Sonia, Sibal, Chidambaram come out against SC order on Section 377

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal have also raised concern over the Supreme Court order by calling it regressive and unfortunate.

The Centre is likely to go for a review petition or curative petition over the order.

Sonia Gandhi issued a statement saying she is disappointed with the Supreme Court order that reversed the Delhi High Court order on homosexuality.

"I hope that Parliament will address this issue and uphold the constitutional guarantee of life and liberty to all citizens of India, including those directly affected by this judgment," she said in a statement. "It's gone back to 1860. I don't want to take names but those politicians opposing it, it's unfortunate. The government must go for review petition or curative petition," said Chidambaram.

His views were echoed by Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal who tweeted: "The Govt is considering all options to restore the High Court verdict on #377. We must decriminalise adult consensual relationships."

But BJP's Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath said he will oppose any move to change the law. "I welcome the Supreme Court verdict. When the bill is brought in Parliament, I will oppose it. I oppose any move to decriminalise homosexuality and endorse Ramdev's comments," he said.

Janata Dal United leader and Rajya Sabha MP Shivanand Tiwari, too, had on Wednesday spoken against the Supreme Court order criminalising gay sex. "I don't support the Supreme Court decision. I think the Delhi High Court order was practical and constitutional. This happens in society and if people believe it is natural for them, why is the Supreme Court trying to stop them?" said Tiwari.

Upholding Indian Penal Code Section 377 and setting aside the Delhi High Court ruling that decriminalised homosexuality, the Supreme Court had on Wednesday ruled gay sex as illegal. While the decision invoked angry reactions from the LGBT community, religious groups hailed the verdict.

The Delhi High Court had in 2009 decriminalised homosexuality and had struck down Section 377. The Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the Delhi High Court verdict and observed that Section 377 is a valid constitutional provision. It held that foreign laws cannot be applied "blindfolded" to decide the constitutionality of law enacted by legislature in India.

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya held that there is no constitutional infirmity in Section 377 of IPC which makes gay sex an offence punishable with up to life imprisonment. However, the court said that the appropriate changes in Section 377 can be made through legislation and Parliament must take a decision on the controversial issue and that the judiciary has no role in it.

"Since 1950 the Legislature has chosen not to amend the law or revisit it. This shows that Parliament, which is undisputedly the representative body of the people of India has not thought it proper to delete the provision. Such a conclusion is further strengthened by the fact that despite the decision of the Union of India to not challenge in appeal the order of the Delhi High Court, the Parliament has not made any amendment in the law," the judgement said.

It also further said that the ones "who indulge in carnal intercourse in the ordinary course and those who indulge in carnal intercourse against the order of nature constitute different classes and the people falling in the later category cannot claim that Section 377 suffers from the vice of arbitrariness and irrational classification. What Section 377 does is merely to define the particular offence and prescribe punishment for the same which can be awarded if in the trial conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and other statutes of the same family the person is found guilty."

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