Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (SCYLV) that causes yellow leaf disease (YLD) in sugarcane (recently reported in India) belongs to Polerovirus. Detailed studies were conducted to characterize the virus based on partial open reading frames (ORFs) 1 and 2 and complete ORFs 3 and 4 sequences in their genome. Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed on 48 sugarcane leaf samples to detect the virus using a specific set of primers. Of the 48 samples, 36 samples (field samples with and without foliar symptoms) including 10 meristem culture derived plants were found to be positive to SCYLV infection. Additionally, an aphid colony collected from symptomatic sugarcane in the field was also found to be SCYLV positive. The amplicons from 22 samples were cloned, sequenced and acronymed as SCYLV-CB isolates. The nucleotide (nt) and amino acid (aa) sequence comparison showed a significant variation between SCYLV-CB and the database sequences at nt (3.7–5.1%) and aa (3.2–5.3%) sequence level in the CP coding region. However, the database sequences comprising isolates of three reported genotypes, viz., BRA, PER and REU, were observed with least nt and aa sequence dissimilarities (0.0–1.6%). The phylogenetic analyses of the overlapping ORFs (ORF 3 and ORF 4) of SCYLV encoding CP and MP determined in this study and additional sequences of 26 other isolates including an Indian isolate (SCYLV-IND) available from GenBank were distributed in four phylogenetic clusters. The SCYLV-CB isolates from this study lineated in two clusters (C1 and C2) and all the other isolates from the worldwide locations into another two clusters (C3 and C4). The sequence variation of the isolates in this study with the database isolates, even in the least variable region of the SCYLV genome, showed that the population existing in India is significantly different from rest of the world. Further, comparison of partial sequences encoding for ORFs 1 and 2 revealed that YLD in sugarcane in India is caused by at least three genotypes, viz., CUB, IND and BRA-PER, of which a majority of the samples were found infected with Cuban genotype (CUB) and lesser by IND and BRA-PER genotypes. The genotype IND was identified as a new genotype from this study, and this was found to have significant variation with the reported genotypes.