Indian court overturns gay sex statute

NEW DELHI - A top Indian court issued a landmark ruling yesterday decriminalising gay sex between consenting adults, overturning colonial-era legislation that outlawed homosexuality.

NEW DELHI - A top Indian court issued a landmark ruling yesterday decriminalising gay sex between consenting adults, overturning colonial-era legislation that outlawed homosexuality.

The New Delhi high court ruled that an existing statute prohibiting homosexual acts was discriminatory and therefore a violation of fundamental rights under the constitution.

"Discrimination is the antithesis of equality in that it is the recognition of equality that will foster the dignity of every individual," the judges said in a 105-page judgment.

The British colonial-era statute banned "carnal intercourse", citing it as being "against the order of nature".

Conviction carried a fine and a maximum 10-year jail sentence.

Though prosecutions were rare, gay activists said police used the law to harass and intimidate homosexuals.

The ruling was made after a petition brought by the Naz Foundation, a gay advocacy group. - Sapa-AFP

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