Supreme Court reinstates ban on gay sex

The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out a 2009 ruling by the Delhi High Court that had decriminalised gay sex, in a major blow to gay rights in the world's largest democracy.

The top court stated that only government could change the law, deeming the Delhi High Court had overstepped its powers with the decision four years ago.

"This is not a retrograde judgment," a lawyer for a Muslim charity who received the judgment told reporters outside the court. "All the communities - Muslims, Christians, the majority community Hindus - have all challenged the judgment of the Delhi High Court."

Section 377 of India's penal code bans "sex against the order of nature", which is widely interpreted to mean homosexual sex. The colonial-era rule dates back to the nineteenth century.

The Supreme Court's move came as a shock to gay rights activists, who had expected it to rubber-stamp the 2009 ruling.

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