Penal Code (as amended by the Penal Code (Amendment) Act, No. 22 of 1995)
Article 365. “Unnatural offences” —
Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend ten years, and shall also be punished with fine and where the offence is committed by a person over eighteen years of age in respect of any person under sixteen years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than ten years and not exceeding twenty years and with fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of an amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed for injuries caused to such person.
Article 365A. “Acts of gross indecency between persons” (introduced by the Penal Code (Amendment) Act, No. 22 of 1995
Any person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any person of any act of gross indecency with another person, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with a fine, or with both and where the offence is committed by a person over eighteen (18) years of age in respect of any person under sixteen (16) years of age shall be punished worth rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years and not exceeding 20 years and with a fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed for the injuries caused to such a person [R1.3].
The provision contravenes the international human rights standards.
On 23 November 2017, it was reported that Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle had pledged to change the penal code in Sri Lanka to decriminalise homisexuality after the country’s United Nationals Universal Periodic Review (UPR) [R1.2].
In May 2001, the Companions on a Journey group of 1400 members were actively pressing for decriminalisation of homosexuality and reported there had been no prosecutions for homosexuality in Sri Lanka since 1950, but same-sex relationships could still touch a raw nerve in the largely Buddhist country [R1.1].
In 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, under the Optional Protocol of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, to which Sri Lanka is a signatory) considered sections 122 and 123 of the Tasmanian Criminal Code, provisions similar to Section 365A of the Sri Lanka Penal Code. The Committee found that the provision violated articles 2 and 17 of the ICCPR which, respectively, prohibit discrimination and protect privacy.