Article 377 will be repealed soon: Moily

Last Updated: Sun, Jun 28, 2009 12:31 hrs

Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily on Sunday said that the Central Government would take a decision soon on when to repeal Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalizes homosexuality.

Addressing a Meet The Press program at the headquarters of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists here, Moily said he would be meeting Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad soon to decide the fate of Section 377.

Moily pointed out that many sections of the IPC are outdated and government is exploring possibilities of amending such laws and updating legal provisions so that they were in tune with the times.

He revealed that the Central Government would hold discussions with all sections of society before taking the final decision on repealing Section 377 of the IPC.

Many Christian organizations have raised protests against the government's move to repeal the controversial section of the IPC.

The Home Ministry had earlier argued before the High Court that homosexuality is not accepted by Indian society and repealing Section 377 from the IPC would encourage more anti-social activities.

The Health Ministry has to clear its stand on this issue. Moily is believed to be in favour of repealing Section 377 from the IPC.

Section 377 of the IPC criminalizes "carnal intercourse" saying it is against the order of nature.

Both Indian civil society and the government generally consider homosexuality a taboo subject. Sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly, but in recent years, attitudes towards homosexuality have undergone a shift.

The government no longer seeks to prosecute adults engaging in private consensual homosexual acts.

The campaign to decriminalise homosexuality has strengthened thanks to the efforts of organisations such as NAZ Foundation, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the Law Commission of India, the Union Health Ministry, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Planning Commission of India.

The United Nations too has urged India to decriminalise homosexuality, saying it would help to fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. By K.S. Ashik (ANI)