Coming down heavily on the issue of routine discrimination that members of the LGBTQ are subjected to, the diverse group of petitioners said that Section 377 legitimises the stigma associated with sexual orientation and its expression-something which is essential, fundamental, intrinsic and innate to an individual. "Equal rights are accessible for us with this decriminalisation", one of the petitioners in the case, Ashok Row Kavi, told Al Jazeera.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had said it would support any decision by the Supreme Court but one prominent member of the party criticised the court ruling.
The Supreme Court began hearing petitions against the ban in July and had earlier said that "If section 377 of the IPC goes away entirely, there will be anarchy". The draconian law, which was penned down by the British in 1861, had been under implementation in India long after the British left the country and long after the United Kingdom had decriminalised it themselves.
Section 377 defines "unnatural offenses" and claims that whoever consensually has gay sex shall be imprisoned for 10 years as per the 1861 law.
As a result, the LGBT people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community of India were denied of their rights. The decision stated that social regulations can not function with the liberties of the constitution and granted constitutional rights to everybody without bringing up civils rights.
Manvendra Singh Gohil, the first openly gay royal in India, was optimistic about today's ruling about Section 377. Describing Section 377 as a "terrible colonial legacy", they said it violated Articles 14 (equality), 15 (discrimination), 19 (freedom) and 21 (life and liberty) of the Constitution and has a "chilling effect" on the sexual minority. But The struggle of minorities is not an easy one this paves the way for a lot of other reforms" said Harish Iyer, an LGBTQ activist who filed an impleadment application on Section 377 "But as of now, we are simply celebrating. That judgment sent shockwaves through the gay community, but also made them more assertive. As per Section 377, anyone indulging in any kind of sexual activity which is against "the law of nature" will be criminalized.
Today, the Court held that Section 377 insofar as it criminalises consensual sexual acts between adult human beings, is unconstitutional and liable to be struck down.
Across the country, gay people gathered in front of their television sets, waiting anxiously for the verdict to be announced. The ruling is also a rebuke of British colonial rule in the 1860s, when the law was spurred by Victorian-era mores.
"Why do politicians sometimes hand over power to judges and we see that happening in the Supreme Court everyday".
The federal government had also left the decision to the Supreme Court.
"This is the first step of the history of a lot of other countries that first decriminalised gay sex, allowed civil unions and then marriage", said Suri.