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Indian Supreme Court re-criminalises same-sex activity

December 11, 2013 4:46 PM

India's Supreme Court today ruled to re-criminalise same-sex intercourse. This major human rights setback means citizens in the 1.2 billion-strong nation can again be arrested and prosecuted on the basis of consensual same-sex activity.

In July 2009, the Delhi High Court had ruled the colonial-era sodomy law unconstitutional. In Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, it argued that Section 377, which banned "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal", was in direct violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

The Supreme Court overturned the Delhi High Court decision, re-criminalising consensual same-sex with potential imprisonment for life.

Supreme Court judges argued today this change was up to Parliament to make, not a High Court. However, activists fear Parliament will not legislate on this issue in the near future.

Lib Dem MEP Sir Graham Watson, Chair of the EU-India Parliamentary Delegation and Member of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: "It is shameful that this colonial law, which we Britons are sadly responsible for, will enter into force again."

"I call on our colleagues in the Parliament of India to take bold and urgent action, and finally repeal Section 377 for good."