India’s Supreme Court has refused to review its decision to reinstate a 153-year-old law that criminalises homosexuality.

Justice HL Dattu and Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya issued a brief order declaring, “The Review Petitions are dismissed.”

The ruling is seen as a huge blow to LGBT rights and has been criticised by activists and government ministers.

The Supreme Court reintroduced the law on 11 November 2013. 

Judges had thrown out a 2009 New Delhi High Court decision that ruled the law was unconstitutional.

The decision caused outrage among LGBT activists and many of the county’s politicians.

LGBT rights activists including the Naz Foundation, an Indian HIV charity, had filed a petition calling on the Supreme Court to review its ruling.

Challenging the verdict, Naz Foundation had said in its review plea that the decision is contrary to the well-settled legal principles of the Indian Constitution.

But on Tuesday, the court formally rejected the request.

Section 377 of India’s penal code bans “sex against the order of nature”, which is widely interpreted to mean gay sex, and can be punished with up to 10 years in jail. The rule dates back to the days of British colonial rule in India.

A curative petition by the Indian Government, requiring a five-judge panel of the Supreme Court to intervene in the case is still outstanding.

However, activists said privately before Tuesday’s ruling that if the review petitions were rejected, they held little hope that a curative petition would succeed.