"Social ethos, outlook and the philosophy appear to be evolving amongst gay couples so as to gather courage and openly come out of their closets", observed the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday.
Justice Arun Monga noted that "even though gay marriage is not yet legitimate as per the applicable marriage laws in the country", and therefore, "live-in relationships" are becoming common.
The Single Judge was hearing a writ petition by two females residing as a live-in couple, praying for protection of their life and liberty against threats of their families.
"They are both majors and have a liking for each other. They are in a live-in relationship for the last six months and residing in a common accommodation", the bench was told.
Justice Monga recorded that the petitioners are well aware of the fact that "their relationship is not in the nature of marriage as they belong to same sex". It was urged before the court that a representation for protection had been filed earlier this month before the police but no action has been taken on that.
"It seems that both the petitioners have prompted to file the instant petition thinking that live in relationship between the same sex as a couple is not a criminality", remarked the Single bench.
The Court added that what is perhaps coming in the way of the petitioners is "the social unacceptability of their relationship by their parents/family members, owing to which they are living under constant fear".
"Without commenting on the legality of their relationship", the bench was of the view that the petitioners are entitled to protection of their lives and liberty as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, "regardless of the nature of relationship between them".
"Assuming, they were living simply as friends together, even then they are constitutionally entitled to live in peace", the bench proceeded to observe, adding that "legitimacy of their relationship with each other, therefore, is of no consequence viz-a-viz their right to life and liberty".
Accordingly, the Court directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mohali to look into their representation for protection of their life and liberty.
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