India: Supreme Court rebukes ministers for conflicting gay views
Supreme Court judges hearing the case for reintroducing a ban on gay sex in India have warned the government for making contradictory statements about homosexuality.
Judges told ministers not to “make a mockery of the system” after officials appearing in the court appeared to be at odds over whether gay sex should be illegal.
Additional Solicitor General Mohan Jain was appearing for the Indian government’s Health Ministry today and told the court they were in favour of decriminalisation, India’s DNA reports.
Last week, Additional Solicitor General PP Malhotra appeared for the Home Ministry and told the court gay sex was unnatural.
In an apparently inaccurate statement of the government’s position, he said: “Gay sex is highly immoral and against social order and there is high chance of spreading of diseases through such acts.
“Our Constitution is different and our moral and social values are also different from other countries, so we cannot follow them.”
The Home Ministry almost immediately distanced itself from Malhotra’s comments saying it had not taken a stance on homosexuality and was not intending to back criminalisation of gay acts.
According to many reports, Malhotra read an out of date statement to the court.
The government said: “After the judgement of the Delhi High Court decriminalising homosexuality was delivered, the matter was considered by the cabinet. The cabinet decided that the government may not appeal against the judgement to the Supreme Court.”
India’s courts struck down the dormant anti-gay law in 2009. Opponents have pursued the case to the Supreme Court, whom they hope will reintroduce the law.