Accessibility links

Breaking News

Indian Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Gay Law

India's Supreme Court has upheld a 19th-century law making homosexual acts a crime, overturning an earlier court decision.

The court ruled Wednesday that a 2009 High Court decision to strike down the law was unconstitutional. It said that decision should be made by Indian lawmakers, not the legal system.

The ruling was a blow to gay rights advocates, who largely expected the 2009 ruling to be upheld. Activists outside the courtroom told reporters the law allows police harassment of gay couples.

Lawyer Anand Grover said gay rights activists will continue to fight.

"We will wait for that. We will take all legal measures. We will read the judgment and come to a conclusion, whether it's indeed a setback for us or not. It appears to be a setback. But we cannot say certainly now. But I can tell you the fight is not over. The fight will continue if the judgment is against us."

The 2009 court decision said a law against people engaging in "carnal acts against the order of nature" infringed on Indians' fundamental rights. The law makes such acts punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

After the 2009 ruling against the law, conservative religious groups criticized the move and demanded the law be upheld.