Manvendra Singh Gohil, the scion of the erstwhile princely Rajpipla state, on Thursday said the Supreme Court order decriminalising a part of IPC section 377, related to consensual unnatural sex, had given him "true independence" 71 years after the country attained freedom.
A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law, which criminalised consensual unnatural sex.
The apex court termed this part of section 377, IPC as "irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary".
Gohil had made his sexual orientation public some years ago and has been working for the betterment of the LGBTQ community through his Lakshya Trust, earning the sobriquet "gay prince" from a large number of admirers.
"After 71 years of Independence, this verdict has set us free. This is really a day of true independence for me and the members of my community," Gohil told reporters in Vadodara, about 115 kilometres from here.
"This is a very positive development for the LGBTQ community. We are feeling free, we are unburdened today," he added.
"This historic judgment will improve the image of the country in the world. Other countries, where gay sex is considered a crime, will follow India's example," Gohil said.
The former prince of the erstwhile Rajpipla state had appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2007 after he declared himself gay.
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