The Delhi High Court has ruled that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code can no longer be used to treat consensual homosexual conduct between adults as a criminal offence - so effectively gay sex is now decriminalised across India. Legal: Zoltan Parag, Mr. Gay India 2008 The verdict is a major relief to the country's LGBT community, who see it as a major victory for basic rights to privacy, non-discrimination, and liberty. "This is a long awaited and incredible judgment," said LGBT equality activist Gautam Bhan told the AFP. "The judges in their verdict spoke about inclusivity, quality and dignity. They spoke about a vision of India as an open, tolerant society and to hear all this from the Delhi High Court was amazing," he said. Section 377 was supposed to punish anyone who "voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" and criminalised a whole range of sexual acts from mutual masturbation, to fellatio and anal sex. Theoretically, it holds the possibility of a five year prison sentence, although it hasn't been enforced to imprison gay men specifically for the last twenty years or so. Gay sex has long been a taboo subject in conservative India, where many still regard homosexuality as an illness. VIDEO: Celebrating LGBT anti-Section 377 protesters are shown on the news report below.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News Staff
First published: Thursday, 2nd July 2009 - 8:20pm
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