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Legalization of gay sex challenged in India court

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 16:26 EDT
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NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday began hearing more than a dozen petitions filed to overturn a 2009 ruling that decriminalised gay sex between consenting adults.

Homosexuality was ruled lawful three years ago by a Delhi High Court order that declared the colonial-era ban was unconstitutional, in a decision hailed by gay activists but which also triggered a volley of protests.

Muslim and Hindu leaders and groups campaigning for child protection said in a submission to the Supreme Court on Wednesday that gay and lesbian sex was “against God and creation.”

Judges G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhaya heard arguments by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a government organisation that called the 2009 court ruling “erroneous.”

“The right to privacy does not confer any rights on consenting adults to commit an act in private which is illegal,” said lawyer Amrendra Sharan, who represented NCPCR in the court.

“India is culturally different from foreign countries and therefore the court order to decriminalise gay sex should be set aside,” he said.

Homosexuality became illegal in India after 1860 under a statute introduced by British colonial rulers that banned “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.”

Conviction carried a fine and maximum 10-year jail sentence. Prosecutions were rare, but gay activists said police used the law to harass and intimidate homosexuals.

The Supreme Court is expected to continue hearings on Thursday.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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