Ramadoss wants PM to resolve article 377 issue legalise gay sex

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) The divide in the government over legalising homosexuality to tackle HIV/AIDS epidemic still persisted and health Minister Anbumoni Ramadoss now wants Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve the matter.

Dr Ramadoss told reporters here today that he had met Home Minister Shivraj Patil last week and urged him to amend article 377 concerning homosexuality but the latter was not inclined due to which the matter remained unresolved.

As the Home Minister had reservation that amending the article 377 would increase criminalisation and children would get exploited, the Health Minister urged Mr Patil to just modify the article so that consenting adults above the age of 18 years should not be penalised for having sex.

''I had not requested for scrapping the article but to just modify it, but since he was not agreeing. The Prime Minister had asked both of us to discuss the matter and since no consensus has emerged now we leave the matter to the Prime Minister and hope that he would resolve it,'' Dr Ramadoss said.

He said that HIV/AIDS was spreading fast among Men having sex with men while transmission from blood and mothers to children has declined.

According to the Health Minister, India has about 2.6 million gays and of them 10% were highly vulnerable and spreading the HIV/AIDS infection.

Dr Ramadoss said he was seeking the modification of the law as the century old law even penalised health workers working with MSM group for ''abetting'' and it was a cognizable and non-bailable offence. Even the doctors treating gay patients could be punished which was highly deplorable, he added.

The article states that, whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature, with any man, woman or animal shall be punishable with imprisonment for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

The Health Minister's opinion has found favour among homosexuals who're fighting a case for repealing article 377 in the Delhi High court. The Delhi High court had recently reserved its verdict on petitions filed by gays rights activists seeking decriminalization of homosexuality. It seems the court's views can only help resolve the stalemate.

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