India Supreme Court reinstates gay sex ban

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of India [official website]on Wednesday reinstated [judgment] an 1861 law prohibiting sex between consenting adults of the same sex, overturning a lower court decision. The law, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, was passed during the British colonial era and calls for a 10-year sentence for "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman or animal." The High Court of Delhi [official website] found the law unconstitutional in 2009, but the Supreme Court has found that this ruling was beyond the power of the court and the decision of whether Section 377 should be maintained should be left to the legislature.

Many were surprised by the ruling as the India Supreme Court has been known recently for making progressive rulings that some consider to be judicial activism. The Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] in July that elected officials who have been convicted of certain serious crimes must immediately leave their positions and are ineligible to participate in future elections. In January, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi PIllay [official UN profile] praised an India report [JURIST report] laying out a "groundbreaking basis for action against violence against women." The Supreme Court heard arguments [JURIST report] regarding the 2009 decision on Section 377 in February 2012.

 

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