Government Refuses to Take a Stand on 377, Tells Supreme Court It Will Let The Courts Decide

In a major development on the 2nd day of hearing of Section 377 case, the Central Government, via Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, submitted its response before the Supreme Court and stated that it will let the court decide the matter and abide by its decision.

The affidavit submitted by the ASG stated that:

“so far as the constitutional validity Section 377 to the extent it applies to “consensual acts of adults in private” is concerned, the Union of India would leave the said question
to the wisdom of this Hon’ble Court. “

However, the affidavit also stated that the Supreme Court must restrict itself to “consensual acts of adults in private”, and must not delve into, or pass a judgement on the other issue/issues or rights of the LGBTQ people. “In the event this Hon’ble Court is
pleased to declare Section 377 viz. “consensual acts of adults in private”, to be unconstitutional, no other issue/issues and/or rights are referred for consideration and adjudication and therefore, may not be gone into,” the affidavit reads.

The central government further asked the court that if it were to rule on anything beyond Section 377 like civil rights, marriage, inheritance, the Union of India must be given time and allowed to file its response. “If this Hon’ble Court is pleased to decide to examine any other question other than the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, or to construe any other right in favour of or in respect of LGBTQ, the Union of India would like to file its detailed affidavit in reply as consideration of other issues would have far reaching and wide ramifications under various other laws and also will have consequences which are neither contemplated in the reference nor required to be answered by this Hon’ble Bench.”

Modi government had kept everyone guessing what response it will file in this matter. In an interview to ANI news agency on Tuesday, Attorney General KK Venugopal had hinted that the government may oppose scrapping of Section 377.

Sukhdeep Singh