Delivering a landmark judgement decriminalising gay consensual sex, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said: "I am what I am. So take me as I am." Homosexuality is not an offence in India, five Supreme Court judges today ruled in a concurrent judgement.
The Supreme Court reversed its own 2013 decision and said Section 377, a controversial British-era ban on consensual gay sex, is irrational and arbitrary. "No one can escape from their individuality," said Justice Misra, who is due to retire on October 2.
"We have to bid adieu to prejudices and to empower all citizens." "Section 377" banned "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" -- which was interpreted to refer to homosexual sex.
Under the 1861 law, gay sex was punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Although prosecution under Section 377 is not common, gay activists said the police used the law to harass and intimidate members of their community. The ban on gay sex was challenged by five high-profile petitioners who said they were living in fear of being punished.
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