India's Supreme Court ends colonial-era ban on gay sex

Section 377 verdict by Supreme Court today: 5 key things to know

Earlier in 2009, the Delhi High Court had said that Section 377 violates the fundamental rights of the people mentioned in the Constitution.

India's Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a colonial-era ban on gay sex at the centre of years of legal battles. LGBT community has the same rights like other members of society.

► "No one can escape from their individualism".

United Nations in India has welcomed the Supreme Court ruling.

The Five Judge Bench has declared Section 377 IPC unconstitutional, insofar as it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private.

The top court's verdict was previously set to be delivered on July 17, but on that day, it made a decision to reserve its verdict. Respect for each others rights, and others are supreme humanity.

Despite several curative petitions being filed subsequently, the court never listed it for hearing until recently.

Objecting to the observation of the two-judge bench in Suresh Kumar Kaushal, Senior Advocate Arvind Datar had advanced, "it is logically wrong to say that since the Parliament, despite the recommendation of the Law Commission in its 172nd Report, has chosen not to delete section 377, it is constitutional..."

Section 377 verdict LATEST updates: "Human instinct to love has been constrained".

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The court had previously reinstated the ban in 2013 after four years of decriminalisation.

"The UN in India sincerely hopes that the court's ruling will be the first step towards guaranteeing the full range of fundamental rights to LGBTI persons", it added.

The court heard arguments about how history has changed its view on homosexuality from pathological prejudice to a "normal and benign variation of human sexuality". "Sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of freedom of expression", the court said.

"We are exclusively on consensual acts between man-man, man-woman".

This was after the centre had told the Supreme Court that it would not take a stand on the issue but would, instead, leave it to the "wisdom" of the top court of the country.

Gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in jail under the 1861 law.

Delivering the judgement, India's chief justice, Dipak Misra, said: "Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - can not be said to be unconstitutional".

The historic judgement came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs.

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