They hugged, they cried tears of joy and they danced their hearts out as rainbow flags swirled the skies with the LGBTQ community breaking into impromptu jubilations on roads, in hotels and everywhere else after the Supreme Court Thursday decriminalised consensual gay sex.
Bollywood celebrities, authors, advocates, teachers, politicians and people from all walks of life joined the activists, who have been fighting a long-drawn battle against a colonial era law, in their celebrations after the apex court's historic verdict granted them "a basic human right."
Amid all celebrations, many also acknowledged their fight may still go on as a complete equality remains some distance away due to fears of police and mob violence and continuing legal obstacles to right to adoption and to gay marriages.
A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a part of the 158-year-old law under Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalised consensual unnatural sex.
The LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) community welcomed the verdict that also said the society cannot dictate a sexual relationship between consenting adults. Many cut cakes and waved the rainbow flag -- which has come to be associated with the gay pride movement and is often used during marches held by the community to reflect its diversity.
The top court, which ruled that consensual gay sex is not a crime, said the Section assumes characteristic of "unreasonableness" as it becomes a weapon in the hands of the majority to "seclude, exploit and harass" the LGBT community.