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India's Supreme Court has legalised homosexuality and gay sex and decriminalised Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, holding out promise of a new dawn in personal liberty and sexual orientation.

Dona Marwein, another participant, said the Supreme Court has chosen humanity and equal rights and removed the outdated law. Until now, it was punishable with up to 10 years in prison, although few people were jailed.

The top court's historic judgment triggered widespread celebrations among sections of civil society, human rights and the LGBT community.

The law, known as Section 377 - put in place by the British in 1861 - held that intercourse between members of the same sex was against the order of nature. Social morality can not be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual.

He also described today's judgment of the Supreme Court as anti-Indian civilization and said that he shall mobilize the Members of the Parliament also in this regard.

Reading his verdict on Thursday on petitions challenging the constitutionality of the law, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said: "Majoritarian views and popular morality can not dictate constitutionally enshrined rights".

While the apex court is likely to announce the verdict shortly, here's a read on What is Section 377? However, India's struggle against this archaic law dates back to at least a couple of decades when activists and NGOs came together to fight the law that criminalises homosexuality. All these factors, coupled with the fact that Justice D Y Chandrachud was the one who delivered the main judgement on the right to privacy and has been vocal about LGBTQ rights as well, has instilled new confidence among the members of the community.

Although the law was seldom enforced, the gay community said it opened them to harassment and discrimination, and made it impossible for them to seek justice if they were victims of violence, rape or other crimes like blackmail. "Any violation is against freedom of speech and expression", the court said.

He also ruled: "Above all, all government officials, including and in particular police officials, and other officers of the Union of India and the states, be given periodic sensitisation and awareness training of the plight of such persons in the light of the observations contained in this judgment".

The petitioners are Bharatnatyam dancer Navtej Singh Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, Neemrana hotel chain co-founder Aman Nath and businesswoman Ayesha Kapur.

Scrapped by the Delhi High Court in 2009, the law was reinstated four years later in response to challenges from conservative Hindu, Muslim and Christian groups.

Initially, the bench debated whether it should look at larger questions beyond sexual orientation but CJI Misra finally observed that the issue of the section's constitutionality should be settled first. "I am in the darkness no more", said Keshav Suri, an LGBT activist. The Centre had said that the other aspects of the penal provision dealing with minors and animals should be allowed to remain in the statute book.

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