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"Private acts between consenting adults is something which no government should have criminalized as unfortunately we have done", he said.

The law known as Section 377 held that intercourse between members of the same sex was against the order of nature.

"This section 377 is a awful colonial legacy", Menaka Guruswamy, one of the lawyers representing the petitioners, had argued in court in July.

The law, while in existence, called for a maximum sentence of life in prison if one were caught taking part in homosexual acts.

Prosecution under Section 377 was rare, and mostly leveled only against gay men, but it was long used to blackmail, harass and sexually assault LGBT Indians, the New York Times reports. While, in recent times, the law was rarely enforced fully, many members of the LGBT community of India believe that its mere existence helped spread hate, fear and repression of homosexuals.

"History owes an apology to members of the community for the delay in ensuring their rights", said Indu Malhotra, who was another judge on the bench.

In four separate yet concurring judgements, the top court overturned its 2013 verdict which had re-criminalised consensual unnatural sex.


The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said that LGBT community possesses rights like others and majoritarian views can not dictate constitutional rights.

The judgment came on a clutch 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 as well as 20 former and current students of the IITs.

"Such a view is constitutionally impermissible", stated CJI Misra, who wrote the judgment for himself and Justice Khanwilkar.

The bench said courts must protect the dignity of an individual as right to live with dignity is recognised as fundamental right. But many gay people still face isolation and persecution, and the court's ruling will do little to change life on the ground for millions of people.

Lawyer Anand Grover, who was representing Naz Foundation against Section 377, talks to the media after the Supreme Court verdict. In 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalised sex between consenting adults of the same gender. "We welcome the progressive & decisive verdict from the Supreme Court & hope this is the beginning of a more equal & inclusive society".

Human rights activists hoped the impact of lifting the ban on gay sex would be felt beyond India and prompt other countries that outlaw homosexuality to reconsider their laws.

Sparks says the court ruling will not impact how India Partners presents the gospel in India and will focus on teaching God's commands knowing it impacts the church and the community because Christians can be a model for the community.


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