The federal government of India has asserted that homosexuality should continue to be deemed criminal and liable for prosecution. That is one way to combat to combat HIV/AIDS, it says. In a written submission filed by Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra to the Supreme Court, the Centre said that legalising Men having sex with Men (MSM), as desired by gay rights activists, would lead to spread of the dreaded disease. The government also placed reports of various countries to prove the point.
"In Zambia, one in three (33%) surveyed men who have sex with men tested HIV-positive. In the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, 43% of men who said they had sex only with other men were found to be living with HIV," the government said, quoting the United Nations report on Global AIDS Epidemic, 2008.
"In Bangkok, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men rose from 17% in 2003 to 28% in 2005 and it is estimated that as many as 21% new HIV infections in Thailand in 2005 were attributable to unprotected sex between men," the affidavit said.
The 100-page written submission was filed by the Centre as the court, while reserving the order, had allowed the government to file any additional submission in a written form.
Centre's response came on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by gay rights activists seeking the court's direction to decriminalise gay sex among consenting adults in private.
At present, homosexuality is an offence in the country and Section 377 of Indian Penal Code provides punishment for up to life imprisonment for engaging in such acts.