In its one of a kind order in W.P.No.7284 of 2021, on 29th March 2021 the Madras High Court has referred a lesbian couple and their parents to a counselor specializing in LGBTQ+ issues.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh of Madras High Court was hearing a plea filed by same-sex partners seeking directions to order the Police to not cause harassment to the petitioners & ensure that there is no danger to them from their parents to their life & limb.
The facts of the case being, that the petitioner 1 (girl of 22) & 2 (girl aged 20) fell in love. When the parents of both the girls got to know about this relationship; they vehemently opposed it and pressured the girls to break-off this relationship. The petitioners ran away to Chennai. Parents of the petitioners who are not able to agree on the same sex relationship filed a complaint in the police station and thus, two FIRs came to be registered as missing girl case.
Learned counsel for the Petitioner submitted that there is a potential threat to the life and limb of the petitioners and the petitioners are being made to run from pillar to post to ensure their safety and security.
In the conclusion of the hearing, the Court directed the closure of the missing persons complaint filed by the parents and further directed that the petitioners would continue to remain under the protection of NGO International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (“PCVC”).
The Court individually interacted with the parents of the respective Petitioners and requested the Mediation Centre to allot two cabins to enable the parents to have a one-to-one interaction with their daughters. The Hon’ble Court thought it fit to refer the Petitioners and their respective parents to a counsellor who specializes in working with LGBTQI+ individuals.
The Court further said, “This move becomes very vital since this Court is moving into unchartered waters, and a report from a specialist will provide support to this Court to move forward in this case.”
Justice Venkatesh remarked:
“To be open, I am also trying to break my own preconceived notions about this issue and I am in the process of evolving, and sincerely attempting to understand the feelings of the Petitioners and their parents thereafter, proceed to write a detailed Order on this issue. That is the reason why I am trying to develop this case brick by brick and ultimately, construct something purposeful on this issue.”
– Aakriti Chokhani, Advocate & Associate, POSH at Work