01:57 GMT +319 September 2018
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    India Decriminalizes Gay Sex

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    A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India has partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which recognized even consensual sex between persons of the same gender as a criminal offense.

    The Indian apex court in a landmark judgment on Thursday decriminalized gay sex between consenting adults.

    "We are thankful to millions of people who stood by the LGBTQ community in its fight for equal rights. Today is a historic day for the gender minorities of India. It shall be always remembered. The decision of the court today reaffirms the faith of the common citizen of India in our judicial process and justice system," Prince Manavendra Singh Gohil, a gay rights activist, told Sputnik. 

    Gohil is the first person of India's royal lineage to speak openly about gay rights and justice for gender minorities in India.

    The court's decision has been welcomed by numerous people.

    People march during at the annual Gay Pride parade in central Stockholm on August 5, 2017
    © AFP 2018 / Erik SIMANDER / TT News Agency
    The bench that gave the landmark decision was headed by the chief justice of India, Dipak Misra. Other members of the bench were Justices Fali Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The bench had finished the hearing of the case on July 17 this year but had reserved its judgment for September 6.

    Earlier, in the argument stage, the central government had said it would not contest the petitions.

    "I state and submit that so far as the constitutional validity (of) Section 377 to the extent it applies to 'consensual acts of adults in private' is concerned, the Union of India would leave the said question to the wisdom of this Hon'ble Court," read the affidavit submitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the case.  

    Section 377 of the IPC referred to "unnatural offenses" and said whoever voluntarily had carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

    The section came into force in 1861 during the British rule of India and was adopted by independent India subsequently.

    Meanwhile, the United Nations in India has welcomed the Supreme Court's judgment to partially strike down Section 377.

    "The United Nations in India welcomes today's landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of India striking down a key component of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalized specific sexual acts between adults, a law dating back to British colonial rule that has targeted in particular lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and communities, " a UN statement read.

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    Tags:
    consensual sex, decriminalization, regulations, gay rights, Supreme Court of India, Indian Home Ministry, India
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