Homosexuality decriminalised but having sex with animals still a crime in India, says SC

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The Supreme Court on Thursday, September 6 announced one of modern India's historic judgements and decriminalised consensual sex between adults regardless of their gender and partially scrapped Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

Responding to petitions challenging criminalisation of homosexuality, a five-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justices Indu Malhotra, RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud unanimously delivered the judgment with Justice Malhotra saying that the country owed an apology to homosexuals.

Even though the apex court has decriminalised consensual sex between adults, any kind of sexual activity with animals will still remain a criminal offence under Section 377 of the IPC. "Other aspects dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children remain in force," the top court said.

The court said that sexual orientation of an individual was a biological phenomenon and any discrimination on such grounds violates the fundamental rights of the individual. It added that consensual unnatural sex in private is neither harmful nor contagious to society.

Meanwhile, members of the LGBT community are celebrating their new found freedom across the country. Famous personalities including politicians, actors and journalists have appreciated the apex court for its historic judgement.

Even the United Nations has appreciated the apex court's order. "Sexual orientation and gender expression form an integral part of an individual's identity the world over, and violence, stigma and discrimination based on these attributes constitute an egregious violation of human rights," the UN said in a statement.