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SC to decide Centre’s stand on Section 377: Sadananda Gowda

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New Delhi : Responding to the fresh PIL seeking decriminalisation of Section 377, Union Minister for Law and Justice D.V. Sadananda Gowda on Tuesday said the decision in this regard will be taken by the Supreme Court on what stand the Central Government needs to take as the matter is subjudice.

“Government has already discussed the issue of 377 with Attorney General. We will place our arguments in front of the Supreme Court and the decision will be taken today on what stand the Central Government needs to take. Cannot say more on the issue as the matter is subjudice,” he told media here.

When asked on filing of a fresh PIL seeking decriminalisation of Section 377 of IPC, he said the Government is working on to reduce the interdepartmental litigation.

“It is said that government is the biggest litigant and therefore we must reduce the numbers of such cases through arbitration,” he added.

On the question of shortages of judges, the Law Minister said, “We have cleared 51 appointment of judges and 87 ad-hoc judges had been made permanent within a short period of 4 months only. We have cleared names of 4 judges within a short period of 6 days which were sent by the Supreme Court collegiums.”

On February 3, the Supreme Court had referred a batch of petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era provision criminalising consensual sexual acts of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) adults in private, to a five-judge Constitution Bench for a possible back-to-roots, in-depth hearing.

Admitting appeals filed by Naz Foundation against re-criminalising of homosexual acts by a two judge bench of the apex court in December 2013, a three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justices Anil R. Dave and J.S. Khehar gave credence to arguments that the threat imposed by the provision amounts to denial of the rights to privacy and dignity and results in gross miscarriage of justice.

Chief Justice Thakur said the petitions pose several questions with “constitutional dimensions of importance” while dictating the order of reference to a Constitution Bench he would be setting up shortly. This Bench neither admitted the petitions nor issued notice to the government, leaving it to the future Constitution Bench to do so, if found necessary. (ANI)

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