Celebrations have erupted across India after its Supreme Court has decriminalised gay sex in an historic ruling.

The decision struck down Section 377, a colonial-era law introduced in 1861, ruling unanimously that it was unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex”.

The law punished “carnal intercourse against the order the nature”, with sentences of up to ten years in prison.

Human rights groups and LGBT activists have welcomed the ruling, as well as the United Nations, which said “sexual orientationΒ and gender expression form an integral part of an individual’s identity the world over”.

Homosexuality remains illegal in 71 countries, and punishable by the death penalty in eight.