Two lesbians who want to marry each other but fear that their lives are under threat from their parents rushed to the Delhi High Court on Monday which granted them police protection.
The lesbian couple approached the high court following the Supreme Court’s recent path-breaking judgement which held that consensual sex among adult homosexuals is not a crime.
The two women, aged 20 and 21, said they apprehend threat to life, liberty and security for their respective parents as they have been in a romantic relationship for around one-and-a half year and wish to live together as a same-sex couple.
They said their closeness was disapproved by their parents who asked them to separate due to which they have fled from their native place in Rajasthan and have come to reside in Delhi.
The plea was mentioned this morning by senior advocate Anand Grover before Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao who allowed the prayer to list it today itself.
When the matter came up before Justice Najmi Waziri, he directed the Delhi Police to give due protection to the couple and said a police officer will visit or speak to the women daily.
The Delhi Police counsel also assured the court that the issue of threat allegedly given by a police personnel to the couple’s advocate would be investigated and appropriate action would be taken.
In the petition filed through advocate Saurabh Chauhan, the women said they informed their parents about their relationship and desire to live together as a couple a few days after the Supreme Court’s September 6 verdict.
The top court had recognised and affirmed the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) persons to privacy, dignity, autonomy and freedom of expression of sexual orientation and freedom to choose one’s partner under the Constitution, it said.
The plea said both the women studied in the same school in Rajasthan and were close friends since then. In 2017, the family of one of them started residing as tenant in the house owned by the other.
As they started spending more time with each other, they realised that they were “romantically, emotionally and sexually attracted” to each other, it said.
In August, the family of one of the women forcibly got her engaged to a man and fixed her marriage for November, it said, adding that the two were physically and mentally abused by their families following which they left their home on September 27 and came to Delhi.
The women said their parents were influential and well connected with police officials and their advocate even got a call from a woman, who claimed to be a police officer, threatening him to reveal the couple’s location or else face kidnapping charges.
They said that before moving to the court, they had approached the Delhi Police seeking protection but did not get any such commitment.
The top court, in its unanimous verdict has struck down part of a British-era Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, that criminalised consensual gay sex, saying it was “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary”.
It had said the provision violated the constitutional right to equality and dignity.