In response to Wednesday’s ruling by the Indian Supreme Court upholding a 153-year-old legal provision criminalizing gay sex, New Democrats are supporting calls from the LGBT community around the world for the Indian Parliament to delete the provision once and for all.
“The Indian Supreme Court has said that it is up to the legislature to determine the legality of homosexuality in India,” said NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre). “Canada should call on the Indian government to eliminate this discriminatory law without delay.”
In a landmark decision in 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled that the ban on gay sex was unconstitutional. The Indian government did not appeal the ruling, but a number of private organizations chose to pursue the case to the Supreme Court, leading to Wednesday’s verdict. Although the Supreme Court upheld the current law, the justices said the parliament should consider legislating changes to the statute, which dates from colonial times.
“The Supreme Court of India has chosen to put the decision in the hands of the legislature,” said NDP LGBT critic Randall Garrison (Esquimalt - Juan de Fuca). “Therefore, the government of Canada should urge the Indian government to stand by its previous decision to accept the ruling of the Delhi High Court and immediately introduce legislation to ensure equality under the law for all Indians.”