By Roger Alexander
In what is considered a major breakthrough in AIDS research, India's ministry of home affairs (MHA) led by Shivraj Patil has claimed that it has discovered that homosexuality or gay sex is a disease, putting it in line for the next Nobel prize in Medicine.
This was confirmed by additional solicitor general PP Malhotra representing the MHA to the Delhi High court which is hearing a bunch of petitions filed by gay rights activists seeking decriminalisation of gay sex among consenting adults.
Disagreeing with the bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah - which pointed out that “it is an accepted fact that it is a main vehicle that causes (AIDS) disease but it is not a disease in itself” - Malhotra insisted homosexuality is a disease and legalising it would bring “devastation” to society.
“AIDS is already spreading in the country and if gay sex is legalised then people on the street would start indulging in such practises saying that the High Court has given approval for it. Legalising homosexuality would further divide the country....it will send a wrong signal to youth of our country,” argued Malhotra.
Homosexuality is “immoral” and a “reflection of a perverse mind” and its decriminalisation would lead to moral degradation of society, he said, adding, “Gay sex is against the order of the nature. The State has to take the help of the law to maintain public morality. Homosexuality is a social vice and the state has the power to contain it. If it is allowed then evils of AIDS and HIV would spread and harm the people and would degrade moral values of society.”
Clearly taken aback, the court observed, “It’s a strange situation. Your (home ministry's) first affidavit is silent (and) there is not a single word on what you are saying, while other (health ministry’s) affidavit is pointing out that the penal provision leads to marginalisation of HIV patients.”
Unfazed, Malhotra said, “No act of Parliament can be struck down due to an affidavit or a minister’s (read Ramadoss) statement. Since Parliament passed a law criminalising homosexuality, it represented the will of the people of this country.”
When the bench pointed out that the government needed to prove that allowing gay sex among consenting adults would increase the risk of HIV to an extent to criminalise it, Malhotra countered, “Indian society strongly disapproves of homosexuality and it’s enough to justify it being treated as a criminal offence even where consenting adults indulge in it in private...Our Constitution does not talk about sexual orientation. We cannot impose other countries’ constitutions on us. Our moral and ethical values are different.’’
Roger And Out