Gay sex: India strikes down colonial-era law in landmark ruling

Supreme Court of India has struck down a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual gay sex following the court ruling on Thursday.

“Any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates fundamental rights,” the Supreme Court said in Thursday’s ruling.

The landmark decision by five Supreme Court judges to repeal the law and legalize gay sex between consenting adults comes as a major victory for  LGBT activists and supporters after years of determined struggle.

“The constitution is a living organic document … pragmatic interpretation has to be given to combat rigorous inequality and injustice. Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual. Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality.”

Hundreds of LGBTQ campaigners, who had gathered outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, broke into loud cheers as news of the ruling reached them.

Earlier, gay sex was punishable with life imprisonment in India. Under section 377 of the Indian penal code – a relic from the 1860s British legislation – gay acts are banned as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.

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