The Supreme Court of India is hearing the case on the petition to decriminalise section 377. The government of India has made its stand clear that it will not contest the challenge to section 377 and will leave the decision to the Supreme Court’s wisdom on the issue.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Union of India has stated submitted in the affidavit, “I state and submit that so far as the constitutional validity Section 377 to the extent it applies to ‘‘constitutional acts of adults in private’’ is concerned, the Union of India would leave the said question to the wisdom of the this Hon’ble Court.”
The central government has made its stand clear on the issue that as long as the SC is limiting the constitutional validity of section 377 to ‘consensual acts of adults in private’ the union of India will defer to the decision of the Supreme Court.
In yesterday’s hearing, ASG Tushar Mehta has submitted to the 5 judge bench comprising CJI Deepak Mishra, Justice RF Nariman, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice AM Khanwaliker and Justice Indu Malhotra that if the SC delves into any other issues other than ‘consensual acts of adults in private’ the government of India would file a detailed affidavit in the matter.
There are some individuals who have twisted the government’s view on the matter and tried to portray the central government as regressive and draconian in its views.
I’ve said this before, the #LGBTQ community does itself no favours associating with intersectionality and disseminating fake news by partisan hacks: left what happened & right the way this woman twisted it, makes it hard to sympathise when you have garbage like this #377IPC pic.twitter.com/CQAnLITtLX
— Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) July 11, 2018
As pointed out by Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, journalist Dhamini has completely twisted ASG Mehta’s statement into a blatant lie. As mentioned above, ASG Mehta made the governments’ stand clear on the issue that it considers the challenge to section 377 limited to ‘consensual acts between adults’. Hence ASG Mehta had reportedly stated that any other definition of the act will have to be clarified and the government will then submit a detailed affidavit on the issue, including bestiality.
There is a reason for that because the section 377 of the CRPC based on the old 1862 law criminalised all ‘unnatural sexual acts’. It states. “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished.” Hence the government had to make its stand clear that decriminalising section 377 in its entirety might lead to other legal issues regarding civil rights and liabilities. So the ASG was merely clarifying his stand. But his statement has been twisted by Damini stating the ASG said allowing choice of partner would lead to bestiality and incest, which was completely false.
It was not long before the blatant lie was picked up by others too.
Just to be clear about the Modi Sarkar stand on #377, in case any apologists want to say that they are taking the common-sense and liberal view by deferring to the SC pic.twitter.com/4RvC4a38v4
— Mihir Sharma (@mihirssharma) July 11, 2018
The Modi government has been taking several historic steps with regard to civil rights, women’s rights and social injustice. It has moved to make Triple talaq a criminal offence and now, the central government is also taking steps to ban polygamy and nikah halala that violate basic rights of millions of women in the country.
By making its stand on the section 377 issue, the government has also asserted that it does not believe in infringement of individual rights and lifestyle choices.