Of Jaitley & Chidu on Sec.377

Two top functionaries of BJP and Congress came out in support of gay rights, saying that the Supreme Court must reconsider its decision upholding Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
Speaking at the Times LitFest, finance minister Arun Jaitley and his predecessor P Chidambaram said the SC should not have reversed the Delhi high court order decriminalising consensual sex among gay adults. Jaitley said the SC's view was not in sync with the jurisprudential development on gay rights world over and added that the SC must review its 2013 judgment to do away with the penal provision in Section 377 as far as gay relationships are concerned.
“When millions of people world over are having alternative sexual preferences, it is too late in the day to propound a view that they should be jailed. The Delhi HC's view appears more acceptable,“ said Jaitley , the first leader from the government to have supported de-criminalisation of consensual sex among gay adults. Finance minister Arun Jaitley's comment on Saturday suggesting that the Supreme Court reconsider its decision upholding Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, although made in his individual capacity , may revive the debate on an issue which many right wingers consider to be a taboo.
Speaking just afterwards, former finance minister P Chidambaram, who was also speaking in his personal capacity, said that the Delhi high court verdict decriminalising gay sex was a wonderful one and the Supreme Court should have stayed with it.
The finance minister was also critical of the SC's judgment scrapping the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). He said this judgment too needed to be reconsidered.
The Delhi high court's 2009 judgment decriminalising Section 377 to stop police harassment of adults of same sex having consensual sexual relationship in private was challenged in the SC by religious bodies. Shutting the small window for gay rights opened by the HC, the SC had in 2013 held that Section 377 providing punishment for gay sex was constitutionally valid.
The SC had in 2014 rejected petitions seeking review of its 2013 judgment. However, there still is a last theoretical chance or the SC to reconsider its 2013 judgment when it takes up curative petitions pointing out glaring legal infirmities in the verdict.
Jaitley said the 2013 judgment criminalising gay sex was reflection of the society's archaic view. “The court was not dealing with any personal aw and was on the issue of order of nature and the Delhi high court has held that it was not an offence. The SC took a very conservative approach on he issue and the judgment needs to be reconsidered,“ he said.

No comments: