On Monday, the Supreme Court stayed a Kerala High Court order directing a woman to go for “gender sensitisation counselling” after her lesbian partner alleged that the former was being “illegally detained” by her parents for having a relationship.
A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud issued a notice to the state government and the parents on the habeas corpus petition. The plea had been filed by her partner alleging that the woman has been detained by her parents at her residence [Devu G v State of Kerela].
The petition filed through advocates Sriram Parakkat and MS Vishnu Shankar submitted that the detenu had secretly communicated to the petitioner that she is being continuously harassed, both physically and mentally.
The petitioner has also challenged an order of the Kerala High Court directing her detained partner to attend counselling, which was meant to change her sexual orientation. “It is most respectfully submitted that this counselling is proscribed under law and the Hon’ble High Courts of Madras, Uttarakhand and Orissa have specifically and categorically following the law laid down by this Hon’ble High Court prohibited it,” the plea said.
The petitioner submitted that despite a plea for a physical appearance before the High Court, the detenu was presented through video conferencing, and clearly told the High Court that she is in love with the petitioner.
The bench has directed that the detainee be interviewed by a member of the Supreme Court E-Committee. “We direct the fourth and fifth respondents (parents of the woman) shall in the interim produce the detenu before the family court at Kollam. They shall arrange for an interview of the detenu with Ms Salina of the Supreme Court E-Committee,” it said.
The officer will submit a report on the factuality of the case. “The statements shall be recorded in a fair manner, without any correction. 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,” it said.
The bench, also comprising justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, directed the state government and others to file their replies to the petition by February 17.