HC asks Centre to scientifically prove gay sex harmful

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New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today asked for more scientific proof to back up the Centre's claim that gay sex was harmful to health and society.

Considering a petition filed by gay rights activist, NAAZ foundation, asking for a colonial era law on ''unnatural sex'' to be overturned, a bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Murlidhar demanded scientific evidence for ban on gay sex.

The Court criticised the Central government for using inadequate evidence in its case to retain Section 377(unusual sex) of the IPC.

Section 377, IPC, was enacted in 1860 under the British Raj in line with the anti-sodomy laws in England at that time.

The Centre is fighting to retain Section 377. Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra cited an article, using portions from a religious text as part of the argument to keep the law.

Justice Shah said, ''It is a one-sided version of a religious body, which cannot be relied upon. This is part of a religious doctrine.

''Show us some scientific report, which says that gay sex should be criminalised.'' Arguing before the bench, senior lawyer Anand Grover said to decriminalise homosexuality between consenting adults is the only answer to many social problems arising out of Section 377. Because of the criminalisation, there is a fear among homosexuals.

Justice Shah asked, ''If this fear is gone, possibility of more people indulging in homsexuality will be more, with the fear of spreading HIV?'' Mr Grover said HIV is mainly being spread by unsafe sex and by commercial sex workers. The Government has to take steps to educate people to have safe sex.

Even when the Government schemes of rehablitation of sex workers has not curbed the prostitution trade, Mr Grover said, adding, so criminalisation of Section 377 is unconstitutional.

The arguments would continue tomorrow.

UNI SNG SBC RP BST1959

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