India’s Supreme Court will once again consider whether to decriminalise gay sex.

There has been a long-running dispute in the country over the colonial-era sodomy law Section 377, which bans sex “against the order of nature”.

The law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2009, only to be restored in 2013, re-criminalising gay sex and dealing a blow to LGBT rights activists.

Activists scored a minor victory this week, as the country’s Supreme Court granted a request to reopen the case.

The court will ask a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur to issue yet another ruling on whether the law is constitutional.

LGBT activists outside the court hailed the progress, which comes after a number of setbacks – with a Parliamentary bill on the matter defeated last year.

The Supreme Court noted: “There are important constitutional questions involved in the issue relating to decriminalizing consensual gay sex within the privacy of a house.”

Lawyer Anand Grover told activists gathered outside the courthouse: “It is definitely a move forward.”

Congressman Shashi Tharoor is among prominent figures calling for the law to be struck down, after his political bid to do so failed.

He said previously: “This is not about homosexuality as the opposition has caricatured it.

“It is about freedom, justice, equality of treatment and upholding the values enshrined in our Constitution.

“This law is from the 1860s and it has no place in the 21st century nor in people’s private lives or in their bedrooms.”