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SC stays Kerala HC order for counselling of girl in same-sex relation

The apex court also issued notice to the concerned respondents on the plea filed by a girl who claimed that her partner has been detained by her parents.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Kerala High Court order directing a girl in same-sex relationship to attend counselling sessions.

The apex court also issued notice to the concerned respondents on the plea filed by a girl in the same-sex relationship who claimed that her partner has been detained by her parents.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Pamidighantam Sri  Narasimha and Justice J B Pardiwala also ordered a stay on further proceedings in the matter before the High Court till the next date of listing.

The petitioner girl in same sex relationship has contended that they are female as per their gender orientation and they both wish to get married and be together. But the parents of the detenu have kept the detenu in illegal custody against her will so as to impede the marriage between the petitioner and the detenu, the petitioner said.

The court directed the parents of the detenu to present he before the family court at Kollam. It also directed to arrange for an interview of the detenu with Salina of the Supreme Court E-Committee.

The officer of this court shall submit a report on whether she is being kept in illegal detention, the court said and directed that the statements shall be recorded in a fair manner, without any correction.

“Report to be submitted in a sealed cover. There shall be stay of further proceedings before the High Court till the next date of listing,” the court said.

The petitioner has challenged Kerala High Court’s January 13 2023 order, 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 seeking the detenu to be produced before the court physically.

According to 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 law and the High Courts of Madras, Uttarakhand and Orissa have specifically and categorically following 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.