Update from New Delhi – Government ducks questions of appeal of sodomy law ruling

by on September 17, 2009  •  In Criminal law

The Indian national government announced that it would take no position on the correctness of an appellate court decision declaring the sodomy law unconstitutional, but instead would defer to the Supreme Court's assessment. A memorandum prepared for the Cabinet had recommended that the government not ask the highest court to review the decision. It seems from the report below that there is some confusion about exactly what the Cabinet's decision means, beyond please-make-this-go-away.

From The Economic Times:

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, considered the report of the three-member Group of Ministers formed on the issue and decided that Attorney General G Vahanvati will "assist" the Supreme Court on it. "The Cabinet decided to ask the Attorney General to assist the Supreme Court in every way desired by it in arriving at an opinion on the correctness of the judgement of the High Court," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

To a volley of questions, she repeated the same formulation of her statement and said the Supreme Court can decide if the High Court was "right or not" in decriminalising gay sex. She refused to say anything more on the issue, maintaining that she was not authorised to "explain" further as the matter related to Cabinet proceedings.

The Cabinet decided against taking any stand on the issue to avoid getting caught in any controversy, a minister said, explaining why it was left for the Apex court to take a view.


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