The Centre will leave the matter of the constitutionality of Section 377 to be decided by the Supreme Court.
The notion was put forth by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the Centre before the five-judge constitution bench of the top court, as it hearing of pleas on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code gets underway.
“Won’t contest provision as regards consensual sex between adults and leaving it to the Bench, but seeks clarification on bestiality,” he said.
ASG Mehta also informed the court that the Centre will have to file a detailed reply if the court goes into other aspects like civil rights and liabilities.
“Please do not say anything which can be construed as affecting civil rights, inheritance, marriage rights etc,” he added.
During the previous hearing on Monday, a five-judge Constitution Bench had refused to adjourn the hearing after the Centre sought more time to file its reply.
The Centre requested the court to adjourn the hearing and sought four weeks to file its reply to the petitions.
The bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, however, refused and listed it for today.
In 2009, the Delhi High Court had decriminalised Section 377, but the order was later set aside by a Supreme-Court bench.
Section 377 deals with “unnatural offences,” and holds “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”