Cutting across party lines, legislators today voiced reservation on the Supreme Court judgement making gay sex a criminal offence.
"I am not in agreement with the Supreme Court decision. The HC court decision was a well thought and scientific one. The apex court can reverse lower court decision but I do not think this decision is a better one," JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari said outside Parliament.
Terming the judgement as "disappointment", TMC MP Derek O'Brien said, "We are living today in a liberal world and the judgement is disappointing. Earlier in 2006, there was a letter written and signed by Amartya Sen, Vikram Seth, Shyam Benegal and myself among others on it. Because sometime the court does very interesting views on red lights, I think it does same thing on gay rights."
CPM MP Sitaram Yechury said, "It is now a legal matter in the sense that the Supreme Court has overturned the HC ruling and on that basis it has made certain observation. Those observations involve the invoking of the executive's responsibility in law making in order to resolve the conflict.
"Since the judiciary has sought the executive's involvement, the executive have to properly study what the judgement is all about."
In a blow to gay rights activists, the Supreme Court today upheld the constitutional validity of the penal provision making gay sex an offence punishable with up to life imprisonment.
Union Minister Salman Khurshid said the apex court would have taken into account the overall conditions prevailing in the country.
"I would imagine anything the Supreme Court says is the law of the land. I have not read the judgement. If the SC says the legislature should do something, the legislature should do something. When a legislature does something, it takes into account a whole host of circumstances.
"I would imagine the SC has taken into account the overall conditions prevailing in our country and if required the legislature could do something which is reflective of the what the people want and within the four corners of the Constitution. The legislative will apply its mind and come to some conclusion," he said.
Expressing his reservations over the SC judgement, Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar said the verdict requires "serious thought" because there must be equality for all human beings and "these kind of preferences are almost built into your genes".
"Therefore to discriminate against people to have a particular preference is not something I would advocate. I have not seen the SC judgement. We would be debating it later but in principle I think all human being should be treated equally," he said.
However, Naresh Agarwal of SP supported the verdict saying "Indian society is not prepared for it (homosexuality). This does not suit the Indian culture".
He said the verdict has come at a time when the country is trying to safeguard its culture, ethos, values and traditions.