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India’s Home Affairs Minister says government will not move swiftly on gay sex ban

India’s Home Affairs Minister says government will not move swiftly on gay sex ban

Indian Home Affairs Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Saturday that his government did not intend to move swiftly to re-legalize gay sex following the Supreme Court decision that recriminalized it – suggesting it will pursue the matter through the courts instead.

When asked in Bangalore by a Times of India reporter whether the government would issue an ordinance on the legality of sex between adults of the same gender, Shinde said, ‘Not now,’ suggesting the government will not move swiftly to pass legislation to resolve the issue and instead take the more time consuming path of taking the issue back to the courts.

However Shinde said that he agreed with Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s comments condemning the court’s decision.

‘Our vice-president and president have already spoken on the issue. I am with them,’ Shinde said Saturday.

In reinstating Section 377 of India’s criminal code the Supreme Court declared the law constitutional and said that if it was to be amended, that was a matter for lawmakers.

Controversially, the justices said that it had not been proven to them that homosexuals faced discrimination in India.

One of the Supreme Court justices who heard the matter has now retired and it seems likely based on Shinde’s comments that the Indian Government will seek to have a five judge panel review the ruling.

The opposition Hindi nationalist BJP party has said it will oppose efforts to pass a bill to relegalize homosexuality if one is brought before lawmakers.

The Indian Government may be uneasy to tackle the issue in the parliament as there are general elections in five months.