The verdict of Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalising part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalised consensual unnatural sex, was enthusiastically welcomed across the country even as gay rights activists broke into celebration.

Reactions from influential people from all walks of life flew in thick and strong on the micro-blogging site Twitter as hashtags like #Sec377 #Section 377 and #Loveislove soon rushed to the top of the trend list.

In the landmark verdict, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra unanimously termed the part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which crimiminalised homosexuality, irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary.

Also Read | What is Section 377? Everything you want to know

The bench, which also comprised Justice R F Nariman, Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra, in four separate but concurring judgments set aside its own verdict in the Suresh Kaushal case.

Section 377 refers to ‘unnatural offences’ and says whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.

The apex court further clarified that the other aspects of Section 377 of IPC dealing with unnatural sex with animals and children shall remain in force.

The historic judgment came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur and 20 former and current students of the IITs.

Hailing the judgment as historic, the Twitter parade applauded the efforts put in by all the activists who fought the battle of discrimination against the LGBTQ group.

Read More | ‘Article 377 is a violation of our Fundamental Rights’

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter and wrote, “So pleased to learn that the SupremeCourt has ruled against criminalising sexual acts in private. This decision vindicates my stand on Section 377& on exactly the same grounds of privacy, dignity &constitutional freedoms. It shames those BJP MPs who vociferously opposed me in LS.”

“Supreme Court verdict on #Section377 is momentous.”

An age-old colonial law, that was an anachronism in today’s modern times, ends restoring the fundamental rights & negating discrimination based on sexual orientation. It’s an imp step forward towards a liberal, tolerant society,” tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Bollywood celebs also jumped in with excitement to celebrate the decision.

“Historical judgment!!!! So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights! The country gets its oxygen back!,” said filmmaker Karan Johar.