India’s Supreme Court has refused to hear a petition challenging a law criminalising gay sex.

India’s Supreme Court refused to hear a petition challenging Section 377, India’s penal code, which prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.”



The court’s decision is a major setback for LGBT rights activists battling in the country’s courts to get the ban overturned.

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A number of celebrities from the LGBT community had argued that Section 377 undermined their fundamental rights by failing to protect their sexual preferences.

A letter sent to the Court said: “The petitioners are lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGBT) citizens of India whose rights to sexuality, sexual autonomy, choice of sexual partner, life, privacy, dignity, and equality along with the other fundamental rights guaranteed under Part-III of Constitution, are violated by Section 377.”

The Court refused to hear the matter and asked the petitioners to approach Chief Justice TS Thakur – who is already hearing a separate case to strike down the ban.

The Supreme Court reinstated the colonial-era law in 2013 after fours years of decriminalisation, which had helped bring homosexuality increasingly out into the open in India’s deeply conservative society.

A curative petition has challenged the Supreme Court’s previous ruling that only Parliament has the power to change Section 377.

A number of countries have pressured India to overturn its ban on gay sex and respect human rights regardless of sexual orientation.

Last month, during a visit to the country, Sir Ian McKellen said: “We changed [our laws] long back in England, but you are holding on to it to protect yourselves from western culture.”

Sir Ian also told the Mumbai Mirror that “India needs to grow up”.

Currently, violation of the law can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years.




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