India to re-think British Colonial anti-gay law: Section 377 of IPC

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NEW DELHI(Times of India)

Even as the Delhi High Court is close to giving its verdict on a 19th century colonial law that treats homosexual activity as a crime, here’s a shot in the arm for gay rights. In an interview to a television channel on Thursday, law minister Veerappa Moily indicated that the government may do a rethink on the controversial Section 377 of IPC that criminalizes private consensual sex between adults of the same sex.

Moily admitted that some sections of the IPC are outdated and Section 377 may be one of them.

Those part of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights movement say a rethink by the government on Section 377 of IPC would be a big step forward. ‘‘It will be the best thing for the national Aids control programme since efforts to curb the spread of HIV and AIDS will no longer be impeded by the law,’’ said Ashok Row Kavi, consultant for UNAIDS and UNDP.

Moily’s statement comes at an interesting juncture as the high court has already finished hearing arguments on the petition filed by New Delhi-based non-profit group Naz Foundation in 2001, seeking a reading down of section 377. While the health ministry had supported the petition, the home and law ministries were against it. If the law ministry is indeed willing to do a rethink, experts say it has two options. It could submit before the court that it had changed its position and ask for hearings to be reopened.

NOTE: If you would like to contact Mr. Moily directly to voice your support of the change in the IPC, he can be reached at mvm@moily.com.

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