Monday, September 29, 2008

Naz Foundation II

Arun, thanks for posting on the Naz case. The Lawyers' Collective website does not have the minutes of the fantastic arguments made on 25th September 2008 by Shyam Divan on behalf of the intervenors 'Voices against 377' a coalition of various groups supporting gay rights, women's rights and child rights. These minutes can be accessed here. Unlike the Naz Foundation's arguments which relied heavily on the public health and HIV dimension of the case, Voices took a more human rights centric approach, insisting on equality, liberty and dignity.

The government's response has been confused, contradictory and has invited admonishment from the bench for its casual approach. Although the government has finally decided to go ahead with the Home Ministry's position by opposing the petition and told the Court to ignore the views of the Health Minister Ramadoss, the latter has again publicly defended the demand to decriminalise homosexual behaviour. I wonder if the collective responsibility of the cabinet extends to taking a unified stand in a court, or can two ministries have opposite stands? Article 75(3) of the constitution only demands collective responsibility to the Lok Sabha. Why this insistence on a 'unified' government stand, which basically has resulted in one view being completely ignored? Why can't both ministries propose their independent views and let the court decide?
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