No 'significant risk of sub judice' says Shanmugam of Yale-NUS College talk on India's Section 377 repeal

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Shanmugam defends Yale-NUS talk on India's S377 repeal
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam (left) said he did not see any objection to Dr Menaka Guruswamy's (right) talk at Yale-NUS College. (PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore, Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — There is no “significant risk of sub judice” arising from a scheduled talk by a legal expert from India at Yale-NUS College on her country’s successful repeal of its gay sex ban, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Monday (11 November).

Dr Menaka Guruswamy, a Senior Advocate of India’s Supreme Court, is set to discuss the efforts made in overturning Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code at the Monday evening event.

In a Facebook post, Shanmugam said that “several people” had written to him about the discussion and that there is a petition asking the government to stop the event.

“The main objection appears to be that legal challenges to (Section 377A) are about to be heard in Court, and this talk could be sub judice,” he said, referring to the three legal cases filed to overturn the Singapore law, which are set to be heard later this month. Under 377A, sex between men is illegal but authorities have said that it is not actively enforced.

“I don’t see a significant risk of sub judice. Dr Guruswamy is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India.

“One may agree or disagree with her views, but I am sure she knows about rules relating to sub judice,” said Shanmugam, adding that he did not see an objection to her speaking about the law and what had happened in the Indian Supreme Court.

Dr Guruswamy, who has been named as one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people of 2019, was one of the lawyers representing the Indian petitioners challenging Section 377. In September last year, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the section criminalising gay sex was unconstitutional and struck it down.

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