In the wake of the Supreme Court decriminalising consensual sex between same-sex couples, it would be pertinent to note who were the parties opposed to striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and the arguments advanced by them in support of the retention of this Victorian era provision.
The Apostolic Alliance of Churches, Utkal Christian Council and Trust God Ministries were the main parties who opposed the measure to strip Section 377 of its legal validity. A main prong of contention upon which the respondents rested their case was the fact that any change to Section 377 should be with parliamentary backing and that the Supreme Court was not competent to add or detract from the words present in the statute.
It was also argued that Section 377 had nothing to do with notions of Victorian morality and rather hinged on the issue of spread of HIV/AIDS and was therefore a medico-legal necessity.
The respondents also alleged that the Central Government did a U-turn on the issue and raised serious concerns among the public in not opposing the petitions seeking the striking down of Section 377.
The Central Government took the position that the constitutionality of Section 377 would have to be determined by the Supreme Court in its wisdom and had refused to oppose the petitioner’s case respecting consensual sex between adults belonging to the same gender.
Further clarification was only sought on the issue of bestiality or sex with animals which also falls under the purview of Section 377 which continues to remain a criminal act after the Supreme Court’s 6 September ruling.
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