India’s Supreme Court has agreed to consider a petition seeking to repeal a recent lower court ruling that effectively decriminalized homosexual sex among consenting adults.
Last week the Delhi High Court ruled that homosexual acts between consenting adults are not criminal and that the 150 year-old law, section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” is a violation of “fundamental rights” and must be amended in accordance with the constitution.
A petition filed by Sushil Kumar Kaushal, described as a “Hindu astrologer,” challenging the Delhi High Court judgment “picked holes” in the high court order, according to a Times of India report.
The petition contends that homosexual acts, by all standards, were “unnatural” and could not be permitted. “No one can imagine the consequences of the unnatural acts. Even animals don’t indulge in such activities,” Mr. Kaushal said in his petition.
He further stated that the high court judgment would result in spread of the HIV/AIDS virus as “it has been amply proven” that the infection is contracted through such sexual acts.
“We have to look at our own scriptures to seek guidance from them, and they are against such behavior in our society. If such abnormality is permitted, then tomorrow people might seek permission for having sex with animals,” the petition stated.
Lawyer Pravin Agarwal, appearing for the petitioner before the Supreme Court, said that the adverse impact of the high court order was already making itself felt, with reports of seven cases of homosexual “marriages” taking place in the country.
When Agarwal submitted that the registration of such marriages should not be allowed, the Supreme Court judges said: “We have not changed the definition of marriage. The (Delhi High Court) judgement does not speak about marriage and only excludes such acts (sodomy among consenting adults in private) from the purview of crime.”
The Supreme Court has issued notices disclosing the intent of the petition to the government of India and to the Naz Foundation, the homosexualist lobby group that filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenge that resulted in the High Court decision, and has set July 20 as the deadline for a reply before ruling on the merits of the petition.