India's highest court has refused a request to review its ruling reinstating the nation's ban on gay sex.

In 2009 – just days after gay activists staged Gay Pride parades in several cities for the first time – the Delhi High Court of India declared intercourse between two consenting members of the same sex legal.

The verdict overturned a law that banned gay sex in India, a holdover from British colonial rule, known as Section 377 of India's penal code. Violators of the law face up to 10 years in jail.

The Supreme Court in December threw out the lower court's ruling, saying only lawmakers could change Section 377.

The government joined gay rights activists in asking the court to review its decision.

“We see no reason to interfere with the order impugned. The review petitions are dismissed,” Justices H.L. Dattu and S.J. Mukhopadhaya said in their ruling.

Activists said they would pursue the last-ditch effort of a “curative petition,” which is heard by a panel of five justices.

Anjali Gopalan, founder of Naz Foundation, which worked on the legal challenge, told the AFP that repealing the law through the legislature could take years.

“The route through parliament would be a very long drawn-out process and at this point we have the elections coming,” Gopalan said.