Swami Baba Ramdev, a yoga guru, filed the challenge saying homosexuality was a “disease” and could be cured by yoga.
According to the Indian Express, he said: “It can be treated like any other congenital defect. Such tendencies can be treated by yoga, pranayama (breathing exercises) and other meditation techniques.”
Ramdev is an influential figure among middle-class Hindu families, who regularly watch his health programmes on television. According to previous reports, he has made various claims as to the benefits of yoga, saying it can cure diseases such as AIDS, cancer and leukaemia.
His challenge comes just after an astrologer, Suresh Kumar Kaushal, also filed a petition against the decision, He argued that if gay sex is legalised, “tomorrow people might seek permission for having sex with animals”.
The Delhi High Court ruled on July 2nd that a ban on gay sex between adults violates India’s constitution.
Section 377 was enacted in 1860 under the British Raj, in line with the anti-sodomy laws in England at the time.
It punishes anyone who “voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” by imprisonment and criminalises a whole range of sexual acts from mutual masturbation, to fellatio and anal sex.
Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidahr said the ban violated fundamental human rights.
The ruling said: “In the Indian Constitution, the right to live with dignity and the right of privacy both are recognised as dimensions of Article 21. Section 377 IPC denies a person’s dignity and criminalises his or her core identity solely on account of his or her sexuality and thus violates Article 21 of the Constitution. As it stands, Section 377 IPC denies a gay person a right to full personhood which is implicit in notion of life under Article 21 of the Constitution.”