India Will Defer to Top Court Verdict on Legalizing Gay Sex

(Bloomberg) -- India’s government has declined to take a position on the decriminalization of gay sex, leaving a decision about whether to strike down a colonial-era law entirely up to the country’s top court.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, acting on behalf of India’s national government, said the issue of legalizing gay sex rests with the "wisdom of the court." The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday began hearing a case that could strike down a 158-year-old law that criminalizes gay sex in the world’s second-most populous country.

Read more: India’s Top Court Starts Hearing Case on Legalization of Gay Sex

"We leave it to your lordships," Mehta told a panel of five judges that includes Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Mehta, however, urged the court not to expand the scope of the case. He said the government will take a stand if the top court decides to give a ruling on issues such as same sex marriage, adoption or inheritance rights.

Section 377 of India’s penal code classifies gay sex as an "unnatural offense" that goes "against the order of nature."

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