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Madras High Court Grants Police Protection To Queer Woman Belonging To LGBTQIA+ Community Harassed By Family Members

Nupur Thapliyal
6 July 2021 12:25 PM GMT
Madras High Court Grants Police Protection To Queer Woman Belonging To LGBTQIA+ Community Harassed By Family Members
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The Madras High Court has granted police protection to a queer woman belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community alleging harassment by her family members after disclosing about her sexual orientation while observing that the couple living together was conscious about their relationship. Following the guidelines laid by the High Court to ensure protection of LGBTQIA+ persons in consensual...

The Madras High Court has granted police protection to a queer woman belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community alleging harassment by her family members after disclosing about her sexual orientation while observing that the couple living together was conscious about their relationship.

Following the guidelines laid by the High Court to ensure protection of LGBTQIA+ persons in consensual relationships from harassment, a single judge bench comprising of Justice M Nirmal Kumar ordered thus:

"The petitioner admitted that she belongs to LGBTQIA+ community. The parents of the petitioner on earlier occasion had forcibly separated the petitioner and ****. Now, the petitioner and **** are living together and they are conscious about their relationship. This Court in W.P.No.7284 of 2021 dated 07.06.2021 has issued guidelines to the Police considering the precariousness, in which such people are made to lead their life. In view of the above, the respondent Police is directed not to cause any harassment and also give appropriate protection for the safety and life of the petitioner following the guidelines issued by this Court in W.P.No.7284 of 2021, dated 07.06.2021."

The development came in a petition seeking police protection on receiving frequent life threats from her family members after the petitioner had disclosed to them that she, being a queer person, belonged to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Fearing for her life and personal safety, she had left her home on 17th April this year and started living with her friend. It was thus the petitioner's apprehension that the family members may resort to honour killing or cause physical harm to her.

During the course of hearing, it was submitted on behalf of the petitioner's counsel that at the age of 17 years, the petitioner was forcibly given in marriage, however, later she realized she was a queer and could not stay in a heterosexual marriage. Thereafter, she and her husband fallen apart.

After coming in contact with her friend later in life, both the petitioner and her friend started staying together in her hometown. An FIR was then registered by her friend's brother after which she was forcibly taken away despite her being a major.

The petitioner's family members had subjected her to verbal and physical abuse after which she had left her house with her female friend.

It was thus the case of the petitioner that being a major, she can decide her path of life in her own terms and wishes.

On the other hand, the Government Advocate appearing for the Police submitted that a case of 'women missing' was registered on the complaint of her mother. Reliance was also made on the guidelines issued by the Court to persons belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Considering the submissions, the Court granted police protection to the petitioner and directed the Police not the cause any harassment thereby giving protection to her life and safety.

The petition was accordingly disposed of.

In a significant judgment upholding the rights of members of LGBTQIA+ community, the Madras High Court had in June issued a slew of guidelines to ensure that they are not harassed by police in missing complaints lodged by their parents.

"...the actual problem is not the fact that the law does not recognise a relationship but that the sanction that is accorded by the society is not available. It is only for this reason, I strongly feel that the change must take place at a societal level and when it is complemented by a law there will be a remarkable change in the outlook of the society by recognising same-sex relationships" a single bench of Justice Anand Venkatesh observed.

"Till the legislature comes up with an enactment, the LGBTQIA+ community cannot be left in a vulnerable atmosphere where there is no guarantee for their protection and safety. This gap is now sought to be filled in by way of issuing guidelines till law takes over and guarantees safety and protection", the Court said while issuing guidelines.

'My Upbringing Treated "Homosexual", "Gay", "Lesbian" As Anathema' : Madras HC Judge Explains How He Overcame Prejudice Against LGBTQIA+ Community

Prohibit Attempts To Medically 'Cure' Or Change Sexual Orientation Of LGBTQIA+ People : Madras High Court

Title: CRL.O.P.No.10880 of 2021

Click Here To Read Order

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