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September 02, 2009

Indian government unlikely to appeal decision invalidating the sodomy law

Indian government documents made public yesterday indicate that an appeal of Naz Foundation v. Government of Delhi is highly unlikely. In Naz, the High Court of Delhi ruled that the country's sodomy law, a holdover from British colonial rule, violated the national constitution. A joint document from three ministries recommends that the government not challenge the ruling. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make the final decision whether to direct that an appeal be filed. From the Hindustan Times:

The three ministries had been directed by the Prime Minister to firm up the government stand, following the opposing stands taken by the Home and Health ministries before the high court last year. The  [memorandum], likely to be put up before the Union Cabinet on Thursday, was prepared after meetings between the Home, Health and law Ministries. It states there appeared to be no “legal error in the judgment, which has not struck down the entire Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)”, given by the high court on July 2.

The [recommendation was] prepared on the basis of the opinion given by union Law Secretary TK Vishwanathan. “Since the court has not struck down the entire section, and has confined itself to consensual acts in private, it will be difficult for the government to question the HC judgment,” the Law Secretary stated.

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