Delhi HC decriminalises homosexuality

Delhi HC decriminalises homosexuality

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New Delhi

In a revolutionary verdict, Delhi High Court on Thursday legalised gay sex among consenting adults.

The Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code as far as it criminalises gay sex among consenting adults is violation of fundamental rights, the high court said.

Any kind of discrimination is anti-thesis of right to equality, the court said, while allowing plea of gay rights activists for decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The Naz Foundation along with an activist group Voices Against 377 had filed a petition seeking decriminalisation of homosexuality. 

Earlier, the UPA government was in favour of scrapping Section 377 with Law Minister Veerappa Moily calling the law outdated. But later the Centre backtracked with both Moily and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad calling for consensus.

Speaking to NDTV, on the UPA's stand, Home Minister P Chidambaram said all views would be taken into account before the government takes a decision.

What is Section 377?

Section 377 in the Indian Penal Code was created in 1861 by the British and outlaws what it calls any acts against the order of nature and the punishment for violating it, can be up to 10 years along with a fine.

Section 377 has widely been considered a completely outdated and bizarre law.

Activists say Section 377 is a powerful weapon in the hands of police. It is often used to harass gay people.

The gay community argues that it also forms the basis for the widespread stigma and discrimination against them.

A repeal of Section 377 will also mean changes in civil laws pertaining to inheritance, property and adoption.

Story First Published: July 02, 2009 09:06 IST

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