CJI Dipak Misra reads out the verdcit of Section 377

A supporter of the LGBT community takes part in a gay pride parade in the Indian city of Chennai

A supporter of the LGBT community takes part in a gay pride parade in the Indian city of Chennai

Our fight for equality doesn't end with the reading down of section 377.

"As a result of the criminal offence, gay men are at risk of arrest, prosecution and conviction of the offence of sodomy simply because they seek to engage in sexual conduct which is part of their experience of being human", it had said. But lawmakers failed to take action and in July the government told the Supreme Court to give a ruling in the case.

"The constitution nurtures dissent as safety valve of society, we can't change history but can pass way for better future", the Supreme Court said. The sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of freedom of expression.

Lawyer Anand Grover, who was representing Naz Foundation against Section 377, talks to the media after the Supreme Court verdict. "The veil of social morality can not be used to violate fundamental rights of even a single individual, for the foundation of constitutional morality rests upon the recognition of diversity that pervades the society", CJI Misra ruled.

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The five-judge constitution bench's order has made it clear that it can be relied upon in all the pending consensual gay sex cases whether they are at the trial, appellate or revisional stages, one of the officials said. "It is not only about decriminalising but recognising our fundamental rights". "Constitutional issues are not decided on concession", Justice Chandrachud said in his judgment.

The court had previously reinstated the ban in 2013 after four years of decriminalisation.

Gay sex has always been taboo in conservative India - particularly in rural areas where homophobia is widespread.

The verdict is likely to pronounce its verdict at around 11:30 am. It said the State can not persecute people and decide the boundaries between what is permissible or not, holding that Section 377 IPC was based on "deep-rooted stereotypes of the society" that was violative of fundamental rights to equality and life with dignity.

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Observing that an environment has been created in the Indian society over the years that has led to deep-rooted discrimination against the community, the bench had said discrimination against such people has also adversely impacted their mental health. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders have been relegated to the anguish of closeted identities.

"Although members of the public who regard homosexuality as immoral may be shocked, offended or disturbed by the commission by others of private homosexual acts, this can not on its own warrant the application of penal sanctions when it is consenting adults alone who are involved", the court had said.

Taking note of the Centre's submission that other issues like gay marriages, adoption and ancillary civil rights of LGBTQ community should not be dealt, the court said it was not considering all these issues.

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