The Indian government will not oppose a recent Delhi High Court ruling decriminalising homosexuality in the capital, according to a report.

A cabinet note seen by the Indian CNN-IBN television network recommends that the government leave it to the Supreme Court to rule on challenges to the decision.

A number of religious groups and individuals are appealing against it.

The note states: “The correctness of the Delhi High Court judgement has been challenged in an appeal before the Supreme Court. The government may submit before the Supreme Court that there does not appear to be any legal error in the judgement and the Supreme Court may take a final view whether the judgement of the High Court is legally correct.”

It is now up to prime minister Manmohan Singh to decide whether to oppose the ruling, although CNN-IBN reported that the union law minister suggested he would not.

Three cabinet ministers were asked to consider the ruling by Delhi High Court.

In July it ruled that a ban on gay sex between adults violates India’s constitution.

Section 377 was enacted in 1860 under the British Raj, in line with the anti-sodomy laws in England at the time.

It punishes anyone who “voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” by imprisonment and criminalises a whole range of sexual acts from mutual masturbation, to fellatio and anal sex.

Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidahr said the ban violated fundamental human rights.

The ruling said: “In the Indian Constitution, the right to live with dignity and the right of privacy both are recognised as dimensions of Article 21.

“Section 377 IPC denies a person’s dignity and criminalises his or her core identity solely on account of his or her sexuality and thus violates Article 21 of the Constitution.

If the Supreme Court upholds the decision to decriminalise gay sex, the government can then add an explanation note to Section 377 saying it does not apply to consenting adults in private.