Last edited: September 06, 2004

India’s Supreme Court Refuses to Overturn Sodomy Laws, September 3, 2004

By Newscenter Staff

New Delhi—A motion to have India’s laws against gay sex declared invalid has been dismissed by the Supreme Court in New Delhi.

The laws date back to the time of English colonial rule, but in the years since the British left sodomy laws have been repealed in the UK, but remained in place in India.

The law describes homosexual acts as “unnatural criminal behavior”. Anyone convicted under the law is subject to prison.

The legal challenge was brought by several LGBT civil rights in India, but the court said that the law could only be challenged by someone charged under it.

The petitioners said that police use the law to harass gays.

Lawyers for the government argued that homosexuality cannot be legalized in India because society strongly disapproves of it.

“Indian society, by and large, disapproves of homosexuality and justifies it being treated as a criminal offence even when adults indulge in private,” said a government lawyer.

The government also said that abolishing the law could result in an increase in delinquent behavior.

“While the right to respect for private and family life is undisputed, interference by public authority in the interest of public safety and protection of health and morals is equally permissible.”

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