India Legalizes Gay Sex in Landmark Ruling. LGBT rights campaigners are celebrating the Indian Supreme Court’s reversal of colonial-era legislation that criminalized homosexuality. Chief Justice Dipak Misra called the 158-year-old law — one of the world’s oldest against gay sex — “irrational, arbitrary and manifestly unconstitutional.” Under that legislation, “unnatural offenses” were punishable by 10 years in jail. Though it was rarely applied to consenting adults, the law was sometimes invoked to harass the LGBT community. Yet despite public opinion shifting in major cities, observers say conservative attitudes still dominate in much of India.