Government Asks Apex Court To Steer Clear Of Civil Rights Issues Related To Section 377

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New Delhi:The Centre asked the Apex court to steer clear of civil rights issues related to Section 377, effectively clearing the way for the court to strike down the colonial era law, although some activists criticised it for what they saw as a hands-off approach.The government also left it to the ‘wisdom’ of the SC to decide on the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises same-sex acts.

The Union home ministry filed an affidavit in front of a Constitution bench on the second day of the hearing, and said that as long as the question was about “consensual acts of adults in private” , the government would leave it to the wisdom of “this Hon’ble Court.”

“So it means you are not contesting it?” the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India DipakMisra asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Tushar Mehta.“It is up to the wisdom of the court,” Mehta replied, but asked the court to not go beyond the scope of constitutional validity as that might have wider consequences. “If the court touches on other issues, other ancillary civil rights, the Centre must be given time to put across its view.”

“The ruling would be only limited to whether two consenting adults even if engaged in ‘unnatural sex’ will be liable for prosecution or not for any offence,” Misra responded.“What we intend, subject to arguments, that two consenting adults even if engaged in ‘unnatural sex’ will not be liable for prosecution for any offence.”

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