Monday 20 November 2017

India Supreme Court reinstates ban on gay sex

Participants hold a rainbow flag during
Participants hold a rainbow flag during "Queer Azadi Mumbai 2011" (Queer Freedom Mumbai 2011), a parade for gay and lesbian rights, in Mumbai January 29, 2011. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

India's Supreme Court today threw out a 2009 ruling by a lower court that had decriminalised gay sex, in a major blow to gay rights in the world's largest democracy.

The top court stated that only India's government could change the law, deeming the Delhi High Court had overstepped its powers with the decision four years ago.

"This is not a retrograde judgment," a lawyer for a Muslim charity who received the judgment told reporters outside the court. "All the communities - Muslims, Christians, the majority community Hindus - have all challenged the judgment of the Delhi High Court."

Section 377 of India's penal code bans "sex against the order of nature", which is widely interpreted to mean homosexual sex. The colonial-era rule dates back to the nineteenth century.

The Supreme Court's move came as a shock to gay rights activists, who had expected it to rubber-stamp the 2009 ruling.

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