Hundreds of gay rights activists have taken to the streets across several cities in India to protest a decision by the country’s top court to uphold a law that criminalises gay sex.
Some 800 protesters wore black arm bands and carried rainbow-colored flags and banners that read “No going back!” in the capital New Delhi on Sunday, demanding the government take immediate action to remove the colonial-era law banning same-sex relations.
Last week’s Supreme Court ruling upheld the validity of Section 377 of the Indian penal code, which prescribes life in jail for those indulging in “carnal sex against the order of nature”.
The ruling reversed an earlier verdict of the Delhi high court which decriminalised gay sex in 2009.
“It’s my fundamental right to decide who I should love,” said Rohan Mehta, a New Delhi-based businessman who was among the demonstrators on Sunday. “I will not let the court deprive me of my rights.”
Activists on Sunday said the ruling had evoked anger and dismay across the country, and said they were in the process of taking legal steps to undo the court’s decision.
India’s federal government is also reportedly considering passing quick legislation to overturn the Supreme Court verdict.
Top ministers of India’s Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) indicated on Friday that the government may negate the court’s judgment through an ordinance, a shortcut way to pass a law without parliamentary discussion.