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Ministers cautious on order

Sunday, July 05, 2009 10:18:40 AM, Nishit Dholabhai The Telegraph


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New Delhi: Three Union ministers today discussed the court order decriminalising consensual sex between adult gays but refused to give away anything in light of the reaction of religious groups.


Home minister P. Chidambaram, law minister M. Veerappa Moily and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad held talks at North Block. Delhi High Court had yesterday ruled that IPC Section 377 could no longer be used to harass consenting adult gays.


The law ministry will take a view and send a “note” to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the government spells out its stand.


Chidambaram said the meeting had been scheduled without any inkling that the court order would come on Thursday. “We took note of the judgment. It deals with only one aspect of Section 377.”


Two days ago, he had said the new government’s new ministers may bring “new thinking” although “we may reach the same conclusion”. He did not clarify what he meant but is understood to differ in his views from predecessor Shivraj Patil who was for retaining Section 377.


An immediate appeal by the government looks unlikely as even before the judgment Chidambaram and Moily are understood to have said the IPC section’s provisions needed to change with the times.




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