LUCKNOW: Homosexuality may have been decriminalised by a Delhi court, but a gay couple in Uttar Pradesh is running for cover as their "marriage" solemnised "by mistake" under the Hindu Marriages Act (HMA) is facing legal hurdles and social stigma.
In a relationship of more than a decade now, both Simran and Chunmun Kumar, who are in their 20s and call themselves a madly in love couple, had registered their marriage in a Ballia court in March. Things went well until it was discovered that both the groom and the bride were men.
The two maintain that they had clearly told the lawyers involved and the registrar of marriages that they were both men.
Officials, however, told IANS that the two had given sworn affidavits, testifying that they were man and woman.
Simran is a male dancer who performed with a troupe and calls 'herself' Simran Singh. The troupe also included Chunmun, a resident of Bareilly.
They chose Ballia to marry as the two had been living in the district for seven years. A local lawyer told IANS that under the Hindu Marriages Act, the marriage could not be held legal as the two came from the same sex.
There is "as such no room for such homosexual unions", the lawyers say.
The duo, however, contest the claim and allege they were being "wronged" by officials as they had clearly said they hailed from the same gender and were in fact charged a "court fees of Rs.3,000 and given official certification of marriage the next day, March 30."
It was only after they went back to their village in Bareilly that villagers said the marriage was not legal. The couple then fled the village.
S.C. Mishra, sub-registrar of Ballia, however, maintains that the affidavits given by the duo described Simran as a woman and Chunmun as a man. He points out that Simran came dressed as a newly wed, in a bright red sari, with 'sindoor' et al.
Mishra said the marriage had been solemnised "by mistake".
The recommendation of the gram pradhan also looks shady, officials say, as the name of the headman is different from that in the actual records.