India signals support for legalizing gay sex

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/india-signals-support-for-legalizing-gay-sex/

GAYSTARNEWS-

Indian summer: Events like Bangalore Pride could soon be back

The government of India said today it would not stand in the way of the nation’s Supreme Court in its deliberations over whether or not to legalize same-sex relationships.

Tushar Mehta, the government’s top lawyer said on Wednesday the court should rule on the issue of consensual sexual acts between two adults.

Nagpur LGBTI Pride in 2017. Photo: Facebook via Indian LGBT Community

‘We leave to the wisdom of the court to deal with the validity of Section 377 so far as it relates to consensual sexual acts between two adults,” Mehta said according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The government’s latest comments effectively clear the way for the Supreme Court to rule in favour of decriminalizing same-sex relationships.

Supreme Court hearing petitions this week

The Supreme Court is in the process of hearing arguments for and against legalizing gay sex from activists in favour and conservative and religious groups, who are against it.

Deliberations started on Tuesday and the court could hand down its ruling within the next few days.

As reported by Gay Star News earlier this week, if the Supreme Court rules in favour of decriminalization, it will be a significant step towards battling homophobia in one of the world’s most populous countries.

Section 377 of India’s penal code dates back to 1861, when the country was under British rule. It broadly criminalized any ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.’

Those found guilty could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison.

India has had a troubled history in legalizing gay relationships. The High Court of Delhi repealed the law with regard to consenting adults in 2009. However, two members of the Supreme Court of India overturned that judgment in 2013.

Then, in early 2017, the Supreme Court agreed to consider curative petitions challenging its earlier verdict. It said petitions would be considered by a five-member board.

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