Indian Government Says It Will Appeal Sodomy Ruling

The original ruling “violated the principle of equality,” the government said in its filing asking the Supreme Court to reconsider.

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Indian Justice Minister Kapil Sibal said Friday that the Indian government had filed an official request to the Supreme Court to reconsider its recent controversial ruling reinstating India’s sodomy law.

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He tweeted:

The Govt has filed the review petition on #377 in the Supreme Court today. Let’s hope the right to personal choices is preserved.

— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) December 20, 2013
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Review petitions in India rarely succeed, because they go to the same two-judge panel that issued the original judgement in the case. But a quirk of the case against the sodomy law — known as Section 377 — gives opponents of the provision hope. Justice GS Singhvi, who authored the ruling, entered retirement the day after it was announced. So a new justice will now be assigned to the case who might be willing to re-open the question.

The fact that the government is bringing this petition instead of the original petitioners, an HIV organization called the Naz Foundation, may also help persuade the judges to hear the case again.

The petition argues that the original ruling “violated the principle of equality” because it “suffers from errors apparent on the face of the record, and is contrary to well-established principles of law laid down by this court enunciating the width and ambit of Fundamental Rights” under multiple articles of the Indian constitution.

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J. Lester Feder is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. His secure PGP fingerprint is 1E6E D0AA 63D9 4B28 85AB 2133 CD52 1D31 F20D 2596
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