The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in India has called on the Government to amend the penal code in order to protect the human rights of gay and lesbian people following a shock ruling by the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court in India ruled to reinstate Section 377 of the penal code, which bans gay sex.

LGBT campaigners in India and around the world reacted with shock at the ruling.

The NHRC on Saturday called on India’s Government to amend Section 377 of the Penal Code to protect the human rights of LGBT people.

“The NHRC is of the view that all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity should be able to enjoy their human rights,” the commission said in a statement.

“The commission appeals to the government to urgently take all necessary legislative treatment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity so that no one is deprived of their human rights.”

The Supreme Court in its ruling this week overturned a 2009 decision by the High Court that Section 377 violates the human rights of those it pertains to.

UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said he is “personally saddened” that India’s Supreme Court has reinstated the ban.

Dr Purna Sen, former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat and chair of the Kaleidoscope Trust, said: “The Supreme Court’s ruling is a terrible setback for the struggle to secure equal rights for LGBT people, not just in India, but in many of the Commonwealth countries that still enforce colonial era restrictions on the liberties of LGBT people.”