06/09/2018 4:24 PM IST | Updated 06/09/2018 4:27 PM IST

Section 377: Supreme Court Verdict Momentous, Restores Fundamental Rights, Says Congress

Randeep Surjewala called it a step "towards a tolerant society".

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A member of the LGBT community waves a flag outside the Supreme Court building as crowds gathered to celebrate the decision to strike down the colonial-era ban on gay sex.

NEW DELHI -- The Congress Thursday hailed as "momentous" the Supreme Court verdict decriminalising consensual gay sex and termed it as an important step forward towards a liberal and tolerant society.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the age-old colonial law was an anachronism in today's modern times and the verdict restores the fundamental rights and negates discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"Supreme Court verdict on Section 377 is momentous."

"An age-old colonial law, that was an anachronism in today's modern times, ends restoring the fundamental rights and negating discrimination based on sexual orientation. It's an important step forward towards a liberal, tolerant society," he said on Twitter.

On its official Twitter handle, the Congress said, "We join the people of India & the LGBTQIA+ community in their victory over prejudice. We welcome the progressive & decisive verdict from the Supreme Court & hope this is the beginning of a more equal & inclusive society."

A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises consensual unnatural sex, saying it violated the rights to equality.

The constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra termed the part of Section 377 as irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.