Advocate Ira Gupta & Dr KK Aggarwal
In a string of progressive judgments being passed by the Indian Judiciary, the High Court of Kerala in this recent case has allowed lesbian couple to lead a live-in relationship noting that the same is not a crime or contrary to any Indian law.
In the case titled as “Sreeja S. versus The Commissioner of Police”, the seminal and intriguing issue that fell for consideration before the High Court of Kerala was “whether persons of same gender are entitled to lead a ‘live-in relationship’?
The petitioner, a lady, alleged that her ‘lesbian partner’, ‘A’, years is under illegal of her parents, against her free will. Accordingly, the Petitioner in the case prayed production of the corpus of the alleged detenue and to set her at liberty.
The High Court in view of the facts of the case noted that the larger issue in the case was whether detenu can be permitted to go along with the petitioner to lead a ‘live-in relationship’, because both of them belong to the same gender, and could not solemnize a valid marriage between them?
While arriving at its decision in favour of the Petitioner, the High Court made reference to recent string of cases highlighting the freedom of choice of an individual and the validity of adults to have a live-in relationship.
With respect to permitting of ‘live-in relationship’ the High Court made reference to the recent case of Nandakumar and another V. State of Kerala and others, whereby the Supreme Court noted that, even if the parties are not competent to enter into the wedlock, they have the right to live together even outside the wedlock. The Court also observed that ‘live-in relationship’ was now recognized by the Legislature itself which has found its place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Reference was also made to the famous case of Shafin Jahan V. Asokan, wherein it was held by the Apex Court that the social values and morals have their space, but they are not above the constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Reference was also made to the landmark verdict in case of Navtej Singh Johar V. Union of India.
Finally, the High Court in the present case observed that the ‘live-in relationship’ between the petitioner and the alleged detenue will in no manner offend any provisions of law or it will become a crime in any manner and the Court directed to set the alleged detenue at liberty to go along with the petitioner, as desired by her.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Immediate Past National President IMA