Never said section 377 could be scrapped, clarifies Law Minister Gowda
New Delhi: Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda today rejected the reports in which he was quoted as saying that the government could decriminalise ‘unnatural sex' by scrapping Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
“I never said that, I was misquoted,” Gowda told reporters today after he was asked for a reaction on his statement that Section 377 maybe scrapped.
“The topic was on USA legalising same-sex marriage. I just said that such decisions would need wide discussions in India,” Gowda clarified.
He added, "No such issue has come up before the Law Ministry and the government of India. Deliberations will begin only when issues come up. At present we are not even considering any deliberations.”
Yesterday, in an interview with a leading daily in the context of the US Supreme Court's historic decision last week declaring gay marriages legal, Gowda had said that the government could abolish the law as the mood appears to be in its favour.
“The mood appears to be in favour of it. But it can be done only after widespread consultations and taking all views into account," he was quoted as saying by the daily.
His statement came as a surprise as his party BJP has conservative views on the issue and is against the same sex marriage.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy also defended Gowda stating he was most likely misquoted.
“I think the Law Minister was misquoted. Our party position has been that homosexuality is a genetic disorder,” Swamy said.
In December 2013, the Supreme Court overturned a Delhi high court verdict that had set aside Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a law framed in 1860.
The apex court put the ball in the government's court for decriminalising consensual sex among homosexuals, arguing it was free to annul the law through legislation.
The high court had ruled in 2009 that Sec 377 was unconstitutional.