The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra termed it irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.
Gay sex is considered taboo by many in socially conservative India, and was reinstated as a criminal offence in 2013 after four years of decriminalisation.
It also said Section 377 of the IPC will continue to govern non-consensual sexual acts against adults and all acts of carnal intercourse against minors, besides acts of bestiality.
Do you possess a right to live your sex? Anti-section 377 activists then submitted a "curative petition" - a formal request to review an earlier court order perceived as a "miscarriage of justice" - and in 2016 the Supreme Court made a decision to revisit its ruling.
"Like the Supreme Court's verdict, we also do not consider this (homosexuality) as a crime", Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) "prachar pramukh" Arun Kumar said in a statement. Tears flowed and people hugged each other spontaneously, when the judgment flashed across their television and mobile phone screens.
During one hearing, Justice Chandrachud observed that "our focus is not only on the sexual act, but the relationship between two consenting adults and the manifestation of their rights under Articles 14 and 21 ..."
Tears flowed and people hugged each other spontaneously, when the judgement flashed across their television.
In 2016, when the court agreed to hear the section 377 petition once more, three senior judges said they felt the issue was a "matter of constitutional importance".
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Today's SC decision is truly historic. "The country gets its oxygen back!"
After the 2013 verdict, five high-profile petitioners - Bharatnatyam dancer Navtej Johar, documentary filmmaker Sunil Mehra, restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, hotelier and historian Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur - challenged it and became the human faces of this battle.
Thursday, September 6 2018, is the new day with hopes steering high and the adrenaline rushing in full fervor for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies who had been fighting persistently in order to decriminalize Section 377 of Indian Penal Code.
CJI Misra and Justices Nariman, Chandrachud and Malhotra delivered separate, concurring judgments.
Justice Chandrachud said, "This case is much more than just decriminalising a provision It is about an aspiration to realise Constitutional rights and equal existence of LGBT community as other citizens".
Describing the verdict as landmark, Anjan Joshi, member of the Society for People, Awareness, Care and Empowerment (SPACE), said it was a start.
He said that out of the many layers of the judgment, the most significant part was where "we try and give individual dignity, the autonomy, the choice and liberty of an individual, some substantive content".
On Thursday, the opposition Congress Party welcomed the "progressive and decisive verdict".