Section 377

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Section 377 of the penal code in 42 former British colonies criminalizes all “unnatural” sexual acts including anal sex between men and other homosexual acts.[1] The provision was introduced by British colonial authorities in the British Raj as section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and was used as the model for sodomy laws in many other British colonies, in many cases with the same section number.

The prohibition of homosexual acts is provided for in section 377 of the penal codes of Malaysia, Singapore (see Section 377A of the Penal Code of Singapore), Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Maldives and Jamaica. It is the model for similar laws that remain in force in Bhutan, Brunei, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Malawi, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka (as Article 365 of the Sri Lankan Penal Code),[2] Ghana, The Gambia, Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It was the model for since-repealed laws in Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, and New Zealand.

In 2018, the application of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to private consensual sex between men was ruled unconstitutional by India's Supreme Court, effectively decriminalizing private homosexual activity.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gwynn Guilford (December 11, 2013). "India's latest ban against gay sex has its origin in a five-century-old British power struggle". Quartz. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  2. ^ Elliott, Josh (6 September 2018). "India legalized homosexuality, but many of its neighbours haven't". Global News. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  3. ^ "India Just Decriminalized Gay Sex". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2018-09-06.