BHUBANESWAR: THE Orissa High Court has decided to consider a case of a same sex relationship between two women and directed police to ensure that they cannot be married off by their families against their will. A 24-year-old woman has approached the Court with the grievance that her partner has been forcibly taken away by her mother and uncle. Both had been in a live-in relationship. Family members of the girl are going to forcibly arrange her marriage with someone else, the petitioner said while seeking the Court’s intervention.
Terming the petition “unusual”, the division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Pramath Patnaik passed an interim order directing the Superintendent of Police, Jajpur to ascertain wishes of the woman, who according to the petitioner is her partner, whether she wants to stay with her or not. Police should also ensure that her marriage shall not be solemnised against her will. The Court issued notices to Jajpur SP, IIC of Khandagiri, IIC of Bari, the partner’s mother and uncle and fixed August 10 as next date of hearing on the matter.
During hearing through video conferencing, it was claimed by the petitioner’s counsel that both women were major and had been enjoying a consensual relationship since 2017. They were studying together in the same school and college. After finishing their studies, the petitioner got a private job at Bhubaneswar and was staying there. The counsel claimed that both of them fell in love with each other in the year 2011 and decided to stay together. A joint affidavit on March 17, 2020 submitted before the Court indicated that both had sworn before the Executive Magistrate, Bhubaneswar, declaring that they were staying together in their live-in relationship.
It was further submitted that the petitioner made a complaint of abduction of her partner to the IIC, Khandagiri police station, Bhubaneswar and also earlier made a report to the IIC, Bari police station, Jajpur. But the police authorities have not taken any action. It was also contended that the Supreme Court had held that self-determination of gender is an integral part of personal autonomy and self-expression and falls within the realm of personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. In the judgment, the SC gave weightage to follow the psyche of the person in determining sex and gender and prefer the ‘psychological test’ instead of ‘biological test’.