Court Challenges India on Gay Sex Laws
August 27, 2002
SUMMARY: The government of India has until Nov. 27 to provide the
country’s Supreme Court with legal grounds for maintaining criminal laws
against gay sex.
The government of India has until Nov. 27 to provide the country’s
Supreme Court with legal grounds for maintaining criminal laws against gay
The court is hearing a human rights challenge to the law, brought by the
gay group Naz Foundation.
Appearing Monday before three justices of the court, Additional Solicitor
General K K Sud said: "We have to take into consideration the morality in
society as a whole, and such a relationship is not accepted in our country.
"Even in western countries, which have taken liberal steps towards
this, the people having such relationships are looked down upon," said
But the justices said the issue could not be dealt with solely on the
grounds of social morality. "As far as society is concerned, before 1956
polygamy was an accepted practice, but it had been stopped after the Hindu
Marriage Act was passed to ban it," the court observed.
"If two people of the same sex want to live together, it may be their
own thinking," the court said.
The court ordered the government to file a brief within four weeks
outlining the legal basis for criminalizing homosexual sex and ordered a
hearing for Nov. 27.
People convicted of having sex with a person of the same gender can be
jailed for up to five years under current Indian law.
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