Joint Statement of Religious Leaders On “Supreme Court order on Section 377”

Religious bigots unite to perpetuate shameful ignorance & moral tyranny
New Delhi, 19 Dec 2013: The decision of the Supreme Court on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is not only in line with the eastern traditions of this country, moral values and religious teachings but it also removes apprehensions about invasion of western culture and disintegration of family system and fabric of social life – the inevitable fallouts of the Delhi High Court order of 2009 wherein it decriminalized homosexuality.
Our India is a religious country whose overwhelming majority believes in religion and upholds traditions of the east. All religions emphasize on construction of a family through marital relation between men and women, on which depend not only the existence of human race and lasting peace and tranquillity in the society but it also establishes the respected and central position of woman in the society.
The Constitution of the country has rightly described homosexuality as a punishable offence. It is because homosexuality not only prevents evolution and progress of human race but also destroys family system and social relations. Moreover, it is a great danger to public health. Medical research has also found it as a basic reason for the spread of AIDS.
As representatives of different religious organizations, we welcome the decision of the Supreme Court (delivered on 11 Dec 2013). With this historic decision, the apex court has kept the country from going on to the path of destruction. We are concerned that lovers of western culture, in the name of individual freedom, minority rights and other lame excuses, are putting pressure on political parties and governments for amendment in the law so that this shameless and criminal offence could be legalized.
We warn the government and political parties that we will never accept it if they do it ignoring religious teachings, eastern culture and opinion of the overwhelming majority of the people. Such filthy experiments have destroyed human society and violated the rights of women at a large scale in the west. We should learn from it.
We, therefore appeal to the government and all political parties to accept this revolutionary and wise decision of the Supreme Court with open heart. We urge the supporters of western culture to take homosexuality as a crime and come forward to save the society of the country from this heinous act.
Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari – (Ameer (National President), Jamaat-e-Islami Hind
Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmed  – Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Masjid
Jagat Guru Swami Omkar Anand- Sanatan Dharm
Gyani Ranjit Singh-Chief Priest, Bangla Saheb
Fr. Dominic Emmanuel
Lokesh Muni- Jain Dharm

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court verdict upholding an archaic British law criminalising homosexuality has resulted in the legal equivalent of an Alice-in-Wonderland situation. As of today, according to the law of the land, homosexuality is a crime that carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. So how come all those who are gay and have spoken openly about it in the newspapers, on TV and out on the streets in protest against the SC judgment, have not been immediately arrested for practising sexual acts that are against the law? After all, they have admitted to a 'crime' that carries a life sentence.
The absurdity of the situation shows the clear contradiction between the ground reality of modern India and a legal system that's stuck in nineteenth century Britain. Legal experts say the contradiction shows the manner in which India's legal system is devaluing itself — for why have laws you know you are not going to implement at all times? How can there be any police discretion when it comes to dealing with an 'offence' under the IPC that carries a life sentence. "The prevailing situation is one which no society that is governed by the rule of law should tolerate, namely, of a law which ought not to exist on the statute book, but which does, and yet one that is not enforced, except selectively, capriciously and in a cloak and dagger manner, to terrorize, victimize and humiliate LGBTs, rather than to really enforce the law," says Navroz Seervai, senior advocate at the Bombay High Court. He feels it is absurd to suggest that homosexuality between consenting adults should carry the same extreme penalty as murder.
Feminist and lawyer Flavia Agnes feels Section 377 is a provision of the law that is virtually written to be violated. Asha Bajpai, dean, Centre for Law and Society, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, feels the court has upheld a law that cannot be implemented. "This reflects a situation where the law is repealed by people's behaviour, with a social movement and majority opinion rendering a law non-implementable," says Colin Gonsalves, a senior advocate at the Supreme Court. He believes this is the reality of mass resistance to a bad law. "The police realise that if they were to implement a bad law, they would get it in the neck," said Gonsalves. He likens the current situation to Mahatma Gandhi making his own salt — an act of defiance against British imperialism.
Section 377 has no place in a civilised, modern, democratic and liberal society — one that values and respects basic human and fundamental rights, says Seervai. "The law is antiquated and a relic of a long past colonial era, and should have been repealed or struck down by the courts years ago. It is potently unconstitutional, being violative of articles 14 and 15 (equality) and articles 19 and 21," he says.
Law Commission chairman and former Delhi high court chief justice A P Shah, who had delivered the historic judgment on Section 377 of the IPC decriminalizing gay sex, has expressed disappointed at the Supreme Court verdict setting aside his order and recriminalizing same-sex relationships. "My first feeling was deep sadness about the LGBT community ... I was disappointed," Justice Shah said in an interview to a TV channel on Sunday.  Justice Shah said he had thought his judgment would be sustained. "Given the subject matter of the appeal, I thought that our views would prevail," Justice Shah said, commenting on the SC order. The government on Friday filed a review petition against the SC verdict on Section 377. The SC verdict had upheld the legality of section 377 of the IPC which provides for imprisonment with up to a life term.
In another interaction with a newspaper, Justice Shah said the British, who had introduced Section 377 as they feared "their army and daughters would be tainted by Oriental vices", had repealed it in their own country. Their judicial committee recommended that "for consenting adults, it should not be a crime". Justice Shah defended his judgment saying gay sex by consenting adults was not a crime in all of Europe and the US. On the issue of morality, the Law Commission chairman said what was envisaged in the Constitution was not popular morality. "Probably, public morality is the reflection of the moral normative values of the majority of the population, but constitutional morality derives its contents from the values of the Constitution," he said. On the issue of homosexuality, Justice Shah rejected opinions claiming that it was a disease. "This is no longer treated as a disease or a disorder. There is near unanimous medical, psychiatric opinion that it is just another expression of human sexuality," he added.

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