THE Delhi High Court Wednesday came to the rescue of a 23-year old lesbian woman who was made to marry a man against her wishes despite her family being fully cognizant of her sexual orientation and identification as a lesbian woman.
A single-judge bench of Justice Mukhta Gupta directed the police to extend security to the petitioner and to ensure that no NGO members were harassed or harmed for helping her.
Advocate Vrinda Grover appeared for the petitioner.
During the hearing, Justice Gupta also interacted with the girl and her husband and directed that steps be taken at the earliest for the dissolution of the marriage.
The petitioner escaped from her marital home on March 7 and sought the assistance of ANHAD – an NGO in New Delhi. She was provided temporary shelter at a safe house run by another NGO, but her family members reached the premises and asked for her to be handed over to them.
It was also contended that her family members were forcing her to come back to undergo “correction” surgeries, rituals, or ceremonies in relation to her sexual orientation.
The plea stated that the petitioner tried multiple times to put an end to the relationship and had informed her husband immediately after the marriage about identifying herself as a lesbian person.
“The marriage was never consummated. The petitioner told her husband that she would like to file for divorce, as the continuance of their marriage was adversely affecting her mental health and physical well-being and since she had a different sexual orientation, there was no scope for either of them to experience fulfilment within the marriage. However, on some pretext or the other, the petitioner’s husband delayed breaking this news to his family and the petitioner continued to live in the misery of a life she did not identify with”, the plea read.
It was also averred by the petitioner that her parents told her that divorcing her husband because of her sexual orientation would lead to the family being shamed and would bring disgrace to them in society. Hence, for the sake of her family’s honour she would have to continue to live with her husband as his wife.
The plea was filed by advocates Grover, Soutik Banerjee, Mannat Tipnis and Devika Tulsiani.