AG not to argue in Section 377 case, hints govt does not support decriminalisation
New Delhi, Jul 10: Attorney General K K Venugopal on Tuesday recused himself from appearing in the hearing before the Supreme Court on a clutch of pleas seeking decriminalisation of consensual gay sex, saying he had represented one of the petitioners when a curative petition was filed in the matter.
He said he had informed the law officer concerned, who is handling the contentious matter before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Venugopal said he even did not know what was the stand of the government on the issue.
He said he wanted to clarify that since he had appeared in the curative petition filed against the 2013 verdict re-criminalising section 377 of the IPC, he was not in a position to take up the stand of the government.
"I am not appearing in the matter as I had appeared in the curative petition. I am not appearing now as the Attorney General," he told PTI.
The constitution bench today commenced hearing in the matter. Section 377 of the IPC refers to 'unnatural offences' and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.
The Supreme Court in 2013 had set aside the Delhi High Court's 2009 verdict de-criminalising consensual gay sex among adults after which review petition was filed and was later dismissed. Later, as the last judicial remedy, some of the petitioners had filed curative petitions which the apex court had agreed to hear in the open court.
Following which, several individuals came out with writ petitions and today during the hearing, the constitution bench clarified that it was not tagging the curative petitions with the present batch of pleas.