The Home Ministry is appearing to favour a repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which bans homosexuality. And gay right activists in the country may now leave a sigh of relief.
Home Minister Chidambaram, has called Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and state Home Ministers for a meeting to discuss the issue.
Earlier, the Home Ministry had argued before the High Court that homosexuality is not accepted by Indian society and repealing Section 377 from the IPC would encourage more antisocial activities.
The Health Ministry has to clear its stand on this issue, as the Law Minister Moily is also believed to be in favour of repealing Section 377 from the IPC.
Section 377 of the IPC criminalizes "carnal intercourse against the order of nature".
Homosexuality is generally considered a taboo subject by both Indian civil society and the government. Sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly, but in recent years, attitudes towards homosexuality have undergone a shift.
The government no longer seeks to prosecute adults engaging in private consensual homosexual acts.
The campaign to decriminalise homosexuality has strengthened thanks to the efforts of organisations such as NAZ foundation, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the Law Commission of India, the Union Health Ministry, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Planning Commission of India.
The United Nations too has urged India to decriminalise homosexuality, saying it would help to fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
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