The Indian Psychiatric Society has said that homosexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. In an online statement, the society said that it recognises “same sex sexuality as a normal variant of human sexuality much like heterosexuality and bisexuality.” It also supports the decriminalisation of homosexual behaviour.

“There is no scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be altered by any treatment and that any such attempts may in fact lead to low self-esteem and stigmatisation of the person,” it added.

The statement comes before the Supreme Court will begin hearing petitions against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, according to which “sex against the order of nature” is illegal. A Constitution bench will begin hearing the pleas from Tuesday.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalised Section 377. However, in 2013 the Supreme Court set aside the order. In January, the Supreme Court said it would revisit the constitutional validity of the section and referred it to the Constitution bench.