Supreme Court sets aside high court order, says gay sex illegal

New Delhi, Dec 11: In a major setback for the largely closeted homosexual community in India, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said gay sex between consenting adults is a criminal offence.

The apex court set aside the Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgement that homosexuality should not be treated as a criminal offence, which had been challenged by anti-gay rights activists, social and religious organisations.

The apex court had reserved its order in March last year, after day-to-day hearing in the case lasted an entire month.

The Delhi High Court had in 2009 decriminalised gay sex as provided in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and had ruled that sex between two consenting adults in private would not be an offence.

Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC makes gay sex a criminal offence entailing punishment up to life term. Senior BJP leader BP Singhal has challenged the high court verdict in the Supreme Court, saying such acts are illegal, immoral and against the ethos of Indian culture.

Religious organisations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance too have challenged the judgement. (ANI)