India court declared anti-sodomy law unconstitutional

On July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexual conduct by declaring India's anti-sodomy law unconstitutional. In a petition originally filed and rejected by the court in 2004, the Naz Foundation challenged the applicability of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era law that punished "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" with 10 years in prison and a fine. They had argued that using Section 377 to criminalize consensual adult sexual conduct ran counter to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which provides that "[n]o person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law," as well as equality under the law provided by Articles 14 and 15. The court stressed that the ruling nullifies the application of Section 377 to consensual adult sex only, and does not apply to other sexually-based offenses, such as rape and sex with a minor. The decision was only binding within the Union Territory of Delhi, including the capital.


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