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Indian government petitions court to review ruling on gay sex

Dec. 20, 2013 at 4:54 PM   |   Comments

NEW DELHI, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The Indian government Friday petitioned the Supreme Court to reconsider its revival of a ban on gay sex, saying individual rights must be respected.

The petition was filed by advocate Devdutt Kamath and contends the Dec. 11 ruling by Justice G.S. Singhvi, who has since retired, and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya that makes gay sex a crime punishable with life imprisonment, "unsustainable," the Times of India and Press Trust of India reported.

The ruling "suffers from errors apparent on the face of the record, and is contrary to well-established principles of law laid down by this court enunciating the width and ambit of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution," the petition stated.

"The government has filed the review petition on Section 377 in the Supreme Court today. Let's hope the right to personal choices is preserved," Union law minister Kapil Sibal tweeted Friday.

Gay sex was decriminalized in India in 2009 by the Delhi high court, which made it legal for the first time in 150 years for consenting adults to engage in gay sex.

In the Supreme Court's Dec. 11 decision, the bench said: "In the light of plain meaning and legislative history of the section, we hold that Section 377 ... would apply irrespective of age and consent."

"It is relevant to mention here that Section 377 IPC does not criminalize a particular people or identity or orientation. It merely identifies certain acts, which if committed, would constitute an offense. Such prohibition regulates sexual conduct regardless of gender identity and orientation," Singhvi said.

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