New Delhi: In a goof-up, Government on Thursday tied itself in knots in the Supreme Court by first disapproving decriminalisation of gay sex terming it as "highly immoral" and later taking a different line, drawing sharp criticism from the bench.

READ MORE: Gay sex to remain a crime: Home Ministry

MHA denies taking any stand on gay sex

Appearing for the Home Ministry, Addition Solicitor General P P Malhotra, argued that gay sex is against social order and the Indian society cannot imitate the practices prevailing in foreign countries.

"Gay sex is highly immoral and against social order and there is high chance of spreading of diseases (like AIDS) through such acts," ASG Malhotra contended before a bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya.

As media reported the government stand, the Home Ministry quickly distanced itself from the ASG's stand and came out with a statement even as the court proceedings were underway, saying it has not taken any stand on the Delhi high Court order decriminalising homosexuality.

"Ministry of Home Affairs has not taken any position on homosexuality...Ministry of Home Affairs has also not given any instruction apart from conveying the decision of the Cabinet," it said.

It said the Attorney General has been asked only to assist the Apex Court. The Home Ministry said the matter was considered by the Cabinet and the decision of the Cabinet was that Central Government may not file an appeal against the judgement to the Supreme Court.

As soon as Malhotra ended his submissions after nearly four-hour proceedings, another ASG Mohan Jain, told the court that he has been instructed to say that Centre is not taking any stand on the issue.

Taking strong exception to Jain's last-minute submission, the bench noted that the government has already advanced its arguments and the court cannot take cognizance of the instructions given to him.

(Agencies)