Rajnath backs SC ruling on Section 377

New Delhi, Dec 15 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president has supported Supreme Court's ruling that homosexuality would continue to remain illegal in the country, even though several senior leaders ranging from party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj chose to stay silent on the issue so far.

BJP president Rajnath Singh in an interview to a newspaper said that the BJP supported section 377 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) as they believe that homosexuality is an unnatural act and cannot be supported.

"We usually honour Supreme Court judgments. How can anyone justify unnatural acts?" Singh told The Sunday Express (Sunday edition of Indian Express).

The Times of India quoted him saying "gay sex is not natural and we cannot support something which is unnatural."

"Usually we would not take a stand against SC verdicts and so we don't want to oppose the SC verdict in this instance either. It is for the government to come up with a proposal in case they want to challenge the order," he was quoted saying.

With the apex court sending the ball to Parliament to decriminalize or criminalize gay sex, the support of BJP in the House to decriminalize it is crucial.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside a landmark pro-LGBT judgement of Delhi High Court in 2009, by ruling that homosexuality would continue to remain illegal in the country and would not be constitutionally invalid.

The Delhi High Court verdict of July 2009 had not been challenged by the Government of India. Since then it is like a law in India. But the SC verdict changed all that and gay sex will again be illegal in India.

The Delhi Court had read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexuality, ruling that gay sex between two consenting adults in private is not an offence.

India's LGBT groups and HIV/AIDS fighters had been be vocal about decriminalizing homosexuality, which is a legacy of the British colonial law.

Section 377 has been used by the police and other groups to harass homosexuals.

While various religious and other orthodox groups are against legalizing gay sex in India, the rights groups were expecting a favourable verdict.

The Supreme Court had reserved its order on the issue in March last year.

--IBNS (Posted on 15-12-2013)

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