This is yet another regular story about a lesbian couple (petitioners) whose relationship was not supported by their parents, who were vehemently opposed to their daughters having such a relationship. With the help of an NGO and other members of the LGBTQIA+ community, the pair was able to get housing and begin looking for work that would allow them to support themselves. Meanwhile, the parents filed missing person reports with the appropriate police agencies, prompting the filing of two FIR(s).
Following that, worried police officers arrived at the couple’s home and discovered a threat to their safety and security. As a result, the couple filed a writ petition with the Madras High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, requesting that the police authorities refrain from harassing them and protect them from any harm or danger to their safety and security.
Instead of deciding the matter based on precedents and the law itself, the Hon’ble Justice N. Anand Venkatesh took a unique and innovative method. He saw this case as an example of how society is coping with the issue of homosexuality. The court handled the situation with more sensitivity and empathy in order to break people’s preconceived views about the LGBTQIA+ community, including Hon. Justice Venkatesh’s own. The Hon’ble Court not only arranged for the couple and their parents to meet with a psychologist and psychotherapist, but it also asked for the psychologist’s reports to be shared. In addition, the responsible police officers were told not to interfere with the current situation any longer and to close the complaints as soon as possible.
The counselling psychologist’s report was separated into four parts:
The first part is about comprehending the erroneous conceptions of sex, gender, and sexual orientation.
Second Part: The petitioners’ mental state and observations made after they were counselled.
Third Part: Mental state and observations made after counselling the first petitioner
Fourth Part: The second petitioner’s mental state and observations after counselling.
In the second section of the report, the psychologist stated that the couple fully comprehends their connection and has no doubts about it. Despite their affection for their parents, the couple’s fear of being separated from them by their parents outweighs their love. The couple is even ready to wait for their parents to grasp their relationship at a later date. The psychologist, on the other hand, stated in the third and fourth sections of the study that parents are concerned about the social stigma associated with such a relationship and the implications it will have on their family. Not only do the parents feel a lot of guilt, dread, social disdain, and worry about their daughters’ safety and security, but they also have a lot of questions regarding lineage, adoption, and other usual repercussions of heterosexual relationships. Surprisingly, the parents would prefer that their daughters remain celibate. The Hon’ble Justice Venkatesh proposed another session of therapy for the couple’s parents, correctly pointing out that evolution does not happen overnight and that transformation required ongoing efforts. However, no significant improvement in the parents’ attitude or thought process was observed when the contents of the second counselling session were examined.
The Madras High Court issued interim guidelines and instructions.
- The court’s guidelines and directives state that if the police come across a complaint about a girl, woman, or man and, after further investigation, such individuals are discovered to be consenting adults belonging to the LGBQTIA+ community, the police must close the complaint immediately without harassing such individuals.
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) has been asked to provide and publish on its website a detailed list of NGOs that deal specifically with issues affecting the LGBQTIA+ community.
- The aforementioned action is taken to protect members of the LGBQTIA+ community.
- Not only are NGOs required to keep confidential records of those who approach them, but they are also required to report aggregate data to MSJE twice a year.
- Issues affecting members of the LGBQTIA+ community will be addressed solely through the provision of monetary aid, counselling, or legal assistance through DLSA or other means. Law enforcement agencies can assist in the resolution of difficulties experienced by community members and in the investigation of crimes perpetrated against members of the LGBQTIA+ community.
- Appropriate plans for dealing with the issue of accommodation must be made. The existing housing facilities (stay homes, Anganwadi shelters, and Garima Greh) solely provided shelter, food, medical care, and recreational amenities; however, following this directive, such houses will now provide support for the LGBQTIA+ community’s capacity building and skill development.
- Other steps and policies necessary to erase stereotypes against members of the LGBQTIA+ community will be implemented, with the assistance of the Union and State governments, as well as other ministries and departments.
- The Hon’ble Court recommended that police and prison authorities, DLSA and SLSA, the judiciary, physical and mental health professionals, education institutions, health workers, public and private workplace institutions, and parents of LGBQTIA+ community members participate in various awareness programs. It is important to note that this is merely a suggestion, and so the list is simply indicative and not exhaustive.
Hon. Justice Venkatesh passed these lengthy rules after conducting significant research and understanding the societal perspective. Even after the verdict, efforts are still being made to improve the situation for the LGBTQIA+ community, thus the current case will be closely reviewed and followed up with various departments to ensure that the Court’s orders are carried out. The Hon’ble Court’s approach to reducing prejudice against members of the LGBTQIA+ community has proven to be a historic and ground-breaking means to educate people.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
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