Last edited: April 24, 2007


  • Statute: Chap. XVI, Sec. 377
  • Penalty: 10 years/fine
  • Restrictions: None


"Unnatural offences 377. Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section."

Comment: This section is intended to punish the offence of sodomy, buggery and bestiality. The offence consists in a carnal knowledge committed against the order of nature by a person with a man, or in the same unnatural manner with a woman, or by a man or woman in any manner with an animal.

Cases and Sentence: In a recent case where a highly educated person committed this offence, the Supreme Court having regard to his loss of service and other consequences to his career following the offence let him off with a sentence of two months' imprisonment. In yet another case the Supreme Court reduced the sentence of the accused to six months' imprisonment as the accused while committing sodomy did not use force on the boy. In a case of Himachal Pradesh where a truck driver twice committed sodomy on a boy in his truck, a sentence of one year's imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500.00 were imposed on the accused.
It thus appears that unlike rape the actual sentence imposed under this section is not usually heavy."
("Situation of Homosexuals in India - report for the Swedish Embassy by a Delhi law firm - Swedish Foreign Office/RFSL survey)

This Section is held to prohibit oral intercourse as well. (PB)

Section 294 of the Penal Code, which penalizes any kind of "obscene behaviour in public", is also used against gay men. (Spartacus)

In 1995 the organization AIDS Bedbhav Virodhi Andolan has filed a petition with the Delhi High Court challenging the constitutionality of Penal Code Section 377. A final hearing is expected during 1998. (CSSSM 20/1/98)

"Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises male to male sex with up to 10 years imprisonment. One of the consequences of this is to make it very difficult for males who have sex with males to access sexual health services because their behaviour is against the law and through this accessing makes them visible. It further makes the availability of sexual health services for prisoners difficult.
The second issue, and related to the first, is the high level of reported harassment and violence directed towards males who have sex with males both by police and members of the general public. Very often there will be a demand for sex and/or money. Reporting of these incidents is obviated by Section 377, and further compounded by the unsympathetic and sometimes violent attitudes of the police." (Sexual health workshops in Bangladesh and India for males who have sex with males)

Gay and transgender people marched in Calcutta this June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, widely considered the beginning of the gay rights movement. (Bikas Das/ Associated Press)





Peoples Law Center
No. 455, 4th B Cross, 7th Main,
Vijayanagar Ii Stage
Bangalore 560040
Karnataka State
Tel: +91 80 23109567
Cellular Phone: +9448055465

[Home] [World]