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India decriminalises homosexuality

India's Supreme Court today decriminalised homosexuality in a land mark ruling by a constitution bench of five judges. 

The Court unanimously decided to overturn the 158 year old law which criminalised consensual 'unnatural' sex, arguing that the colonial era law violated the right to equality. 

"Any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates fundamental rights," the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said. 

"The constitution is a living organic document... pragmatic interpretation has to be given to combat rigorous inequality and injustice. Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual. Constitutional morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality."

Welcoming the decision the Asia coordinator for International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), Lieu Anh Vu told Al Jazeera that India's "neighbours are watching."

"LGBTI communities in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also working to repeal similar remnants of British colonisation in their own country and the ruling from India will feed into more dialogues, at least among LGBTI civil society across these countries," Vu added. 

Sri Lanka's coalition government has firmly refused to legalise homosexuality despite international pressure.