Same-sex couple moves SC after being directed to attend counseling session

A same-sex couple has moved Supreme Court challenging the Kerala High Court order, directing one of them to attend counseling session with a psychiatrist regarding their sexual orientation. The plea was heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud who then asked the petitioner’s lawyer to keep the brief ready and said he will hear the matter at the end of the board. Petitioner’s counsel Advocate Sriram P mentioned the plea before the Supreme Court seeking an urgent hearing.

In the petition, the same-sex couple said 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 (person held in custody) have kept the detenu in illegal custody against her will so as to impede the marriage between the petitioner and the detenu. According to advocate Sriram the petitioner sought to invoke the basic principle of Habeas Corpus and sought the detenu to be produced before the court physically. As stated by the petitioner the High Court wrongly asked the detenu to be sent for counseling.

The counseling impugned herein is obviously counseling to change her sexual orientation. It is most respectfully submitted that this counseling is proscribed under law and the High Courts of Madras, Uttarakhand and Odisha have specifically and categorically followed the law laid down by this High Court prohibited it. The plea said the petitioner is in letter and spirit challenging the interim orders dated January 24, 2023 and February 2, 2023 all of which denied the petitioner her fundamental rights. These orders have denied the detenu safety and liberty for a long period from January 9, 2023 to the present day, the petitioner said. The present special leave petition carries a substantial question of law and raises several questions including, whether the High Court ought to have allowed the detenu right to be heard physically in the safety and security of the building of high court. Sexual orientation is something that one identifies with rather than being imposed on through counseling so should “gender orientation counseling” be legal or not.

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