The Madras high court on Tuesday ordered counselling to the parents of a same sex couple who oppose the relationship. The counselling should be given by a specialist who has experience in working with LGBTQI individuals, the court said.
Asserting that such measures have become very vital since the court is moving into uncharted waters, Justice N Anand Venkatesh said, “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 couple and their parents. Thereafter, I will write a detailed order on this issue.”
The court made the observations on a plea moved by a same sex couple.
According to the petitioners who are above 20, they were residents of Madurai and fled to Chennai in the first week of March since their parents opposed their relationship.
While they were given a safe shelter by an LGBT activist in the city, the girls’ parents lodged a complaint of kidnap with the Madurai police. Based on the complaint, the police started harassing the activists and the couple prompting them to approach the high court.
Admitting the plea, the court decided to conduct an in-camera hearing considering the sensitivity of the issue.
When the plea was taken up for hearing on Monday, the court was informed that the petitioners are at present supported by an NGO – International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC).
After interacting with the petitioners, the judge said, “They have known each other for the last two 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. They did not mince any words and there was so much clarity in what they wanted to convey.”
The court individually interacted with the parents of the couple. “They are obviously shocked, and they are not able to immediately accept the relationship between their daughters,” the court added.
In view of portfolio change from April 1 and since the parties wanted the court to continue hearing the case, the judge forwarded the request to the chief of the court for obtaining necessary permission. The case stand posted on April 28.
The court also made it clear that the status quo would be maintained till the next hearing and that the petitioner would be in the care of the NGO.
Read Order here: