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Gay Sex Ban Upheld By Indian Supreme Court

29/01/2014 14:42 GMT | Updated 29/01/2014 15:59 GMT

Gay sex is to remain a crime in India after the country’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal to overturn the controversial ban.

Activists and the Indian government had filed a petition asking for the ruling which stated that gay sex is a criminal offence to be reviewed.

"We have gone through the review petitions and the connected papers. We see no reason to interfere with the order impugned (under challenge).

india gay sex

LGBT activists in New Delhi protest against the Supreme Court's judgement last month

"The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed," said the bench of Justice Dattu and Justice Mukhopadhaya on Tuesday.

"The Supreme Court has turned a cold shoulder to these groups and their suffering," Arvind Narrain, one of the lawyers who brought the rights' groups petitions, told Reuters.

"The court had an opportunity to correct itself today. This is a court that is meant to be for all human beings."

In December the Supreme Court overturned a 2009 decision of the Delhi High Court, which decriminalised relations between people of the same sex.

It said it was up to parliament to legislate on the issue and upheld the constitutional validity of Section 377 of India’s penal code - which dates back to 1860.

In its petition filed in the Supreme Court, the government said “the position of the central government on this issue has been that the Delhi High Court verdict… is correct,” the BBC revealed.

The country’s penal code dates back to the days of British colonial rule in India and bans “carnal acts against the order of nature”, widely interpreted to mean gay sex.

The 2009 ruling which decriminalised gay sex was the result of a case brought by the Naz Foundation, an Indian sexual rights organisation which said the law was hindering its battle to reduce the transmission of HIV.

The matter comes almost a year to the date after the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, which sent women's rights to the top of India's social agenda.

Four men found guilty of her death were sentenced to death in September.

Gay rights in India