February 2, 2016 at 11:04 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
India’s Supreme Court to review sodomy ruling

India, gay news, Washington Blade

Indian television reports on efforts to challenge the country’s Supreme Court ruling that recriminalized sodomy. (Photo courtesy of Mick Kaczorowski)

India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would review its controversial ruling that recriminalized consensual same-sex sexual acts.

The Guardian reported the Supreme Court asked a five-judge panel to reconsider its 2013 decision that reinstated India’s colonial-era Sodomy law known as Section 377.

“This is an undeniably thrilling action by India’s highest court,” James Robertson, executive director of the India HIV/AIDS Alliance, told the Washington Blade. “The country’s LGBT community is cheering quite loudly.”

“It’s encouraging to see the judiciary embrace its responsibility to protect minority rights, particularly after its shameful 2013 ruling,” he added.

India is among the more than 70 countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized.

Indian lawmakers in December rejected a bill that would have repealed Section 377.

Shashi Tharoor, the lawmaker who introduced the Section 377 repeal bill in the Indian Parliament, in a New Delhi Television op-ed said he plans to reintroduce his measure.

“Most Indians would agree that your sexual preferences, sexuality and partner should be your choice,” wrote Tharoor. “Unfortunately the prevailing law of the land — drafted by Victorian-era Englishmen in 1860 — doesn’t agree. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code gives the state the authority to tell you what you can and cannot do in your bedroom.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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