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Govt not rushing to amend IPC Section 377
Published on 28 Jun. 2009 11:09 PM IST
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Union Law Minister M. Veerapa Moily Sunday said the government will not rush to repeal the controversial section of the law that criminalises homosexuality, and “views from all sections of the society” will be considered before taking any decision. The ministers of home, health and law will soon meet to discuss the issue, Moily said, replying to a question on news reports that the central government was considering to repeal Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to legalise homosexuality. “Right now, there is a court case on this topic, and hence we have decided to have a re-look on Section 377. When we finally decide, we will certainly take the views from all sections of the society. We are of the firm belief that a law is to facilitate and not to punish people,” the law minister told reporters. But he did not say how soon the ministerial meeting would be held. He said though amendments had been proposed to the penal code over the time, there was no integrated, comprehensive and holistic look at the clause. About the judicial reforms, Moily said judiciary will be taken into confidence when proposed reforms are undertaken to make it more accountable. Elaborating on the proposed reforms, he said the present Judicial Inquiries Act, 1968, has no teeth. “We have decided to have a holistic approach when we look into the reforms. There would be no confrontation with the judiciary. Instead, there would be cooperation and trust with them when the laws would be formed,” added Moily. Moily said the Indian judiciary is the best in the world. “The judiciary and the government are keen to proceed further in the impeachment case of Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen. Never before has such a thing happened in the country,” said Moily. Gay parade Joining voice with their community across the globe, hundreds of homosexuals and transgenders marched on the streets of the national capital today demanding decriminalisation of homosexuality. Shouting slogans like ‘Down with 377’ and ‘Proud to be homos,’ and dancing to the tunes of drummers, the marchers demanded scrapping of the controversial Section 377 of Indian Penal Code that declares as a criminal offence “sex against the order of nature”. Dressed in colourful attires, the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, many of them donning masks, started from the Barakhamba road and culminated their march at the Jantar Mantar. The activists for gay rights also welcomed the “positive signals” coming from the government over their demand for the repealing of the law. “That the government is positively thinking to repeal the outdated law is definitely a positive sign, at a time when we are also waiting for a judgement in a related case at the High Court,” said Ponni, a gay rights activist working for a Bangalore-based organisation, and one of the organisers of the event. “While the law and the home ministry have already shown positive signs, we hope the health ministry will also come on board in favour of repealing the law,” she said.

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