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India

Delhi court decriminalises gay sex

Article published on the 2009-07-02 Latest update 2009-07-02 08:13 TU

A gay pride march in New Delhi on 28 June 2009(Photo: Reuters)

A gay pride march in New Delhi on 28 June 2009
(Photo: Reuters)

A ruling by New Delhi’s High Court on Thursday has decriminalised gay sex in the country’s capital. The decision overturns an old statute dating back the British empire that outlawed “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.

Convictions for homosexuality previously carried a fine and a maximum ten-year prison sentence. Although prosecutions were unusual, activists said the law allowed police to intimidate gay people.

The ruling follows a petition filed by the Naz Foundation in 2001 relating to section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Naz Foundation, which works to raise awareness of issues surrounding HIV and Aids, had argued that the law restricted human rights.

But the petition was opposed by religious groups who claimed that homosexual are “unnatural”.

The ruling is not necessarily binding outside the Indian capital.

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