India legalise gay sex in historic ruling
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India legalise gay sex in historic ruling

IN a landmark ruling, India's Supreme Court ruled to decriminalise homosexuality.

The decision was a unanimous verdict handed down by a five-judge panel.

The 157-year-old colonial-era law is one of the world's oldest laws criminalising gay sex, and India has been reluctant to overturn it.

The ruling overturns a 2013 judgement, known as section 377 of the Indian constitution, under which gay sex is categorised as an "unnatural offence".

Gay sex had been punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

LGBT activists said the law, though rarely enforced, was the foundation for systemic discrimination and harassment of gay Indians.

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Campaigners outside the court cheered and some broke into tears as the ruling was handed down.

"Criminalising carnal intercourse is irrational, arbitrary and manifestly unconstitutional," Chief Justice Dipak Misra said while reading out his judgement.

"Any consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults - homosexuals, heterosexuals or lesbians - cannot be said to be unconstitutional," Mr Misra added.

This ruling from the country's top court is the final say in the matter and cannot be challenged any further.

It represents a huge victory for India's LGBT community.