Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
The Indian Supreme Court has ruled in a historical judgment that sex between people of the same sex is no longer punishable. The verdict is a victory for the LGBT community in the country with nearly 1.3 billion inhabitants.
The supreme court judges scrapped a 157-year-old law that stems from the time of British colonial rule, the so-called section 377 law. In that law it was stated that there was a prison sentence for “unnatural offenses” of up to ten years. Sex between people of the same sex was considered such a violation.
In 2009, the 1861 law had already been deleted by the regional Supreme Court of Delhi, after which sex between people of the same sex was for the first time legal in India. That decision was reversed four years later by the national Supreme Court. It ruled that parliament had to decide whether to abolish or amend the law.
Parliament then returned the case to the judges to make a judgment. The current case was brought before the Supreme Court through a petition of five gay and lesbian people. Because of the law they had the fear that they could be harassed or persecuted by the police at any time. The five judges voted unanimously for the abolition of the law.
“Any sexual relationship with mutual consent between two adults – gay, straight or lesbian – can not be considered unconstitutional”, Indian chief judge Dipak Misra said when reading the verdict.
INDIA STRIKES DOWN GAY BAN India’s top court has struck down a colonial-era law that makes homosexual acts punishable by up to 10 years in prison. [AP]