Libertatem Magazine

Writ Petition To Be Kept Pending Before Madras HC for a Case Involving a Lesbian Couple Due to Non-Acceptance in the Eyes of Society

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The Petitioners, a lesbian couple whose relationship was being opposed by their parents who are the 4th and 5th Respondents fled to Chennai from their respective houses in Madurai. The 1st Petitioner is aged about 22 years and she has completed B.Sc. Mathematics and is presently pursuing M.B.A. in correspondence mode in Madurai Kamaraj University. The 2nd Petitioner is aged about 20 years and she is pursuing B.A. Tamil through correspondence mode in Madurai Kamaraj University. The Petitioners know each other for the last 2 years and both of them in unison stated that their friendship blossomed into love and they were very clear that both of them will be a partner to each other for life. The Petitioners did not mince any words and there was so much clarity in what they wanted to convey but parents of the respective Petitioners, came to know about the relationship between the Petitioners, and it was not to their liking.

The said Petitioners, with the support extended by certain NGOs and persons belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community, managed to secure accommodation and protection and were in search of employment to financially sustain themselves. Meanwhile, the 4th and 5th Respondents individually filed girl-missing-complaints before the 6th and 7th Respondent Police and two FIRs had been registered. Having faced interrogation by the police at their residential premises, and apprehending threat to their safety and security, the Petitioners approached this Court seeking a direction to the police not to cause harassment and protection from any form of threat or danger to their safety and security from the 4th and 5th Respondents.

Arguments by the Parties

The learned counsel appearing on either side submitted that the petitioners are continuously in touch with their parents and they are talking regularly over the phone. It was also brought to the notice of this court that the petitioners have the continued support of the NGO.

The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners submitted that pursuant to this Court taking cognizance of the Writ Petition, the petitioners are safely taken care by the NGO and they also continue to talk with their parents regularly. Apart, there is no threat exerted by the police after this Court intervened in this matter. The learned counsel requested this Court to issue certain guidelines to deal with cases of similar nature so that persons involved in same-sex relationships are treated with dignity and their safety is also ensured.

Court’s Observation

When two persons of the same sex are friends and continue that relationship for their entire life, this world does not see anything abnormal in that relationship. In fact, no one has any conflict or objection when that relationship continues and they encourage such a friendship. Such friendship is treated to be one of the greatest relationships between two human beings. The actual confusion started when the same two individuals slightly alter their stand and instead of being just friends, get involved in a partnership i.e. a homosexual relationship which in normal parlance is understood as a same-sex relationship.

Even live-in-relationships have not been given any legislative sanctity so far and the parties involved can get in and get out of the relationship at any given point of time without any legal consequences. The scenario as it stands today does not make any difference to heterosexuals involved in a live-in-relationship and two homosexuals in a relationship. Both these relationships as they stand today do not have any legal sanctity and it is not recognised by any existing law. However, society does not have any problem in recognising a live-in relationship between two heterosexuals, but it is hell bent against same-sex relationships. Therefore it is clear that the actual problem is not the fact that the law does not recognise the relationship but that the sanction that is accorded by the society is not available. 

The issue at hand is very important and requires awakening in the society, and law, by itself, may not be able to achieve the desired result. A law cannot be effective without it being acknowledged by society and such an awakening in the society is not going to happen overnight. Till the legislature comes up with an enactment for the LGBTQIA+ community, this gap is now sought to be filled in by way of issuing guidelines till the law takes over and guarantees safety and protection.

Court’s Decision

The issue involved in the present Writ Petition requires regular monitoring and follow up with various concerned departments to ensure that the directions issued by this Court are executed and enforced. In view of the same, this Court is inclined to keep this Writ Petition pending and issue continuing mandamus from time to time after hearing the parties concerned.

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