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SC stays Kerala High Court order directing girl in same-sex relationship to attend counselling sessions
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Kerala High Court order directing a girl in a same-sex relationship to attend counselling sessions till further orders.
The Supreme Court also issued notice to the concerned respondents on the plea filed by a girl in a same-sex relationship who claimed that her partner has been detained by her parents. A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala also ordered a stay on further proceedings in the matter before the Kerala High Court till the next date of listing.
The petitioner, in her plea, filed through advocate Sriram P, said that they are female as per their gender orientation and they both wish to get married and be together. But the petitioner said that the parents of the detenu have kept the detenu in illegal custody against her will to impede the marriage between the petitioner and the detenu.
The court directed the parents of the detenu to present the detenu before the family court at Kollam.
The court said that the Principal Judge of the Family Court should arrange for an interview of the detenu with Ms Saleena V G Nair, a Member of the E-Committee of the Supreme Court, who is a senior judicial officer from the State of Kerala.
"The interview shall be arranged in consultation with the Principal Judge of the Family Court," the court said.
"The officer shall after interacting with the detenu submit a report after ascertaining her wishes and whether she is voluntarily residing with her parents or is kept under illegal detention. The Principal Judge of the Family Court and Ms Saleena shall ensure that the statement of the detenu is recorded in a fair and free manner without any coercion or duress from the parents," the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on February 17.
"Report to be submitted in a sealed cover. There shall be a stay of further proceedings before the High Court till the next date of listing," the court said.
The petitioner challenged Kerala High Court on January 13 2023, whereby the High Court directed one of the couples to attend counselling sessions with a psychiatrist so far as her sexual orientation is concerned.
Lawyer Sriram said that in the present plea, the petitioner sought to invoke the basic principle of Habeas Corpus and sought the detenu to be produced before the court physically.
According to the petitioner, the detenu was present through video conferencing before Kerala High Court whereby she clearly told the High Court that she is in love with the petitioner and the detenu wanted to come with the petitioner and live happily with her ever after.
"The High Court erroneously sought the detenu to be sent for counselling. The counselling impugned herein is obviously counselling to change her sexual orientation. It is most respectfully submitted that this counselling is proscribed under the law and the High Courts of Madras, Uttarakhand and Orissa have specifically and categorically followed the law laid down by this High Court prohibited it. The petitioner is challenging the initial interim order dated 13.03.2023," the petitioner said.
"However the petitioner is in letter and spirit challenging the interim orders dated 24.01.2023 and 02.02.2023 all of which denied the petitioner her fundamental rights. These orders have denied the detenu safety and liberty for a long period from 09.01.2023 to the present day," the petitioner said.
"The present Special Leave Petition carries a substantial question of law among many others. Whether the High Court ought to have allowed the detenu the right to be heard physically in the safety and security of the building of the High Court," the petition said, adding that the plea also raised the question of law as to whether "gender orientation counselling" is legal or not," the petitioner said. (ANI)