New Delhi: For a second time in a row, the Lok Sabha voted against the introduction of a private member’s Bill tabled by Congress MP Shashi Thraoor to decriminalise homosexuality. The Bill was rejected at the introduction stage after the BJP sought division of votes. Mr Tharoor, who had also brought similar Bill in the Winter Session of the Parliament as a private member Bill, sought amendment to the “colonial-era” Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. The Bill in its objective stated that its aim is to “decriminalise sexual intercourse in private between consenting adults, irrespective of their sexuality or gender by restricting the applicability of the section”.
After Mr Tharoor sought the approval of Speaker Sumitra Maha-jan, the BJP members demanded division of votes, which was granted. In the vote count, 58 out of 73 members present voted against introduction of the Bill, while 14 were in its favour. One member abstained from voting. Incidentally, the Supreme Court in December 2013 had overturned a verdict of the Delhi high court that had set aside Section 377 of the IPC. Later, Mr Tharoor accused the BJP for using its “brute majority” in Lok Sabha to thwart his second attempt in three months to introduce a private member’s Bill to decriminalise homosexuality.