World

India court legalises gay sex in landmark ruling

In a historic verdict, India’s Supreme Court ruled that gay sex is no longer a criminal offence in the country.

The ruling overturns a 2013 judgement that upheld a colonial-era law, known as section 377, under which gay sex is categorised as an “unnatural offence”.

It is one of the world’s oldest laws criminalising gay sex, and India has been reluctant to overturn it.

Campaigners outside the court cheered and some broke into tears as the ruling was handed down.

“Criminalising carnal intercourse is irrational, arbitrary and manifestly unconstitutional,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra said while reading out his judgement.

India’s gay and transgender communities have fought long and hard to strike down section 377, which carried a 10-year jail term for those who engaged in what it termed “unnatural sex”.

Equal rights activists had argued that the very existence of such a law was proof of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

They frequently said that the law has been used to harass LGBT people.

 bbc.com

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