New Delhi, Oct 20: The Delhi High Court on Monday said that homosexual trait cannot be said to be a disease and objected to the government’s contention describing it as an ailment which, if legalised, would bring “devastation”.
“Show us one report which says that it is a disease. A WHO paper says that it is not a disease but you are describing it as a disease. It is an accepted fact that it is a main vehicle that causes (AIDS) disease but it is not a disease itself,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah said.
The Court’s observation came when Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, appearing for the Centre, contended that homosexuality is a disease which is responsible for the spread of AIDS in the country.
“The AIDS is already spreading in the country and if gay sex is legalised then people on the street would start indulging in such practises saying that the High Court has given approval for it,” Malhotra said.
The Bench, also comprising Justice S Muralidhar, however, took strong exception to the government’s contention and said the matter (pertaining to legalising gay sex) is still under consideration and the Centre should not make such a submission.
The Court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by gay rights activists seeking decriminalisation of gay sex among consenting adults which, at present, is an offence.
Section 377 of Indian Penal Code provides a punishment upto life imprisonment for indulging in gay sex.
Describing homosexuality as “the most indecent behaviour” in society, the Centre submitted that homosexuals comprise only 0.3 per cent of the population and the right of rest 99.7 per cent population cannot be compromised for them.
“Every citizen has the right to lead a decent and moral life in society and the right would be violated if such behaviour (gay sex) is legalised in the country,” Malhotra said adding that allowing gay sex would pose a health hazard to society.
He countered the gay rights activists’ contention who had earlier pleaded that gay sex should be legalised in the country as many countries in Asia and Europe have done so.
“Our constitution does not talk about sexual orientation. We cannot impose other countries’ constitution on us. Our moral and ethical values are different,” the ASG said while concluding Centre’s arguments.
Senior BJP leader B P Singhal, who is opposing decriminalisation of gay sex, was more blunt in his view against such behaviour and described it as an “evil” exported from western countries.
“If the court allows such acts then it would spread men prostitution and the epidemic of AIDS would further spread. We would no longer be a country called India if Section 377 is removed and such behaviour (gay sex) is allowed,” Advocate H V Sharma appearing for the political leader said.
The Court, however, instructed him to “stick” to legal issues involved in the case and not to raise political issues.