Timeline: Legality of homosexuality in India

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 28, 2014 14:40 IST

In a huge setback to the country's gay community, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the Delhi high court judgment decriminalising homosexuality and upheld section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Here is a timeline of important events relating to the legality of homosexuality in India:

2001: An NGO fighting for gay rights, Naz Foundation, files PIL in Delhi High Court seeking legalisation of gay sex among consenting adults.

Sept 2, 2004: High Court dismisses the PIL seeking decriminalisation of gay sex.

Sept: Gay right activists file review petition.

Nov 3: HC dismisses the review plea.

Dec: Gay rights activists approach the apex court against the order of the High Court.

Apr 3, 2006: Apex court directs the HC to reconsider the matter on merit and remands the case back to High Court.

Oct 4: HC allows senior BJP leader BP Singhal's plea, opposing decriminalising gay sex, to be impleaded in the case.

Sept 18, 2008: Centre seeks more time to take stand on the issue after the contradictory stand between the Home and Health ministries over decriminalisation of homosexuality.

HC refuses the plea and final argument in the case -begins.

Sept 25: Gay rights activists contend that the government cannot infringe upon their fundamental right to equality by decriminalising homosexual acts on the ground of morality.

Sept 26: HC pulls up the Centre for speaking in two voices on the homosexuality law in view of contradictory affidavits filed by Health and Home ministries.

Sept 26: Centre says gay sex is immoral and a reflection of a perverse mind and its decriminalisation would lead to moral degradation of society.

Oct 15, 2008: HC pulls up the Centre for relying on religious texts to justify ban on gay sex and asks it to come up with scientific reports to justify it.

Nov: Government in its written submission before the HC says judiciary should refrain from interfering in the issue as it is basically for Parliament to decide.

Nov 7: HC reserves its verdict on petitions filed by gay rights activists seeking decriminalisation of homosexual acts.

Jul 2, 2009: HC allows plea of gay rights activists and legalises gay sex among consenting adults.

Jul 9: Delhi astrologer challenges HC verdict in SC.

Later on, several others including BJP leader Singhal (since dead), religious organisations, rights activists and yoga guru Ramdev's disciple have also opposed the judgement.

Feb 15, 2012: SC begins final day-to-day hearing in the case.

March 27, 2012: SC reserves verdict.

Dec 11, 2013: SC sets aside the 2009 Delhi High Court order which had decriminalised gay sex.

Dec 20, 2013: Govt petitions Supreme Court to drop gay sex ban.

Jan 28, 2014: Supreme Court dismisses a Central government petition seeking a review of its verdict that had declared gay sex an offence.

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