It’s been nearly 60 years since India became sovereign, yet the government yesterday decided to uphold a colonial era law prohibiting homosexuality. How queer!
Testifying before the High Court yesterday, gay activist Shyam Diwan implored India’s leaders to remember their post-colonial democratic dream:
The Constitution gives fundamental right to equality and it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. But these rights of 25 lakh homosexuals in the country are being violated. Moral argument cannot triumph over the constitutional rights in a democratic society where fundamental rights prohibit any discrimination on the ground of sex.
The Ministry of Health has also been fighting against the law, called Section 377, and have asserted – quite rightly – that such legislation contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Home Ministry, meanwhile, fought for the law, highlighting a growing tension within the government.
Despite the facts and personal testimony, government leaders said yesterday they were “obviously” not going to overturn 377. It seems they would rather live under rhetorical British rule. Said Additional Solicitor General PP Malhotra: “Obviously, we will take a stand against the scrapping of Section 377 IPC that classifies sex between two men as a criminal offense. We object to their plea.” Isn’t it funny that Malhotra referred to men in his response?