Petitioner said she was forcibly married in 2019
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the police to provide protection to a 23-year-old homosexual woman, who on Sunday escaped from her marital home in the Capital after her parents tried to conduct experimental “cure” for her sexual orientation.
The woman, in her plea, said that she was forcibly married to a man in 2019 despite her on many occasions apprising her parents about her sexual orientation and about her identification as a homosexual. She said her parents and extended family refused to acknowledge, accept and respect her sexuality and instead kept insisting that homosexuality is an illness of which she needs to be cured.
In her petition, filed through advocates Vrinda Grover and Soutik Banerjee, she said her previous attempts to put an end to the marital relationship with her husband were not successful. “The marriage was never consummated. 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 said.
‘Disgrace to family’
Things started getting difficult for her in early 2021, when her in-laws stopped permitting her to speak to her friends on the phone and started controlling all her social interactions. Her parents even told her that divorcing her husband because of her sexual orientation would lead to the family being shamed and it will bring disgrace to them in the society. She was told that for the sake of family honour, she would have to continue to live with her husband as his wife and serve her in-laws.
On March 7, her mother called her up to inform her that she has contacted a religious guru, who will “cure” her of her sexual orientation. Her mother stated that she is going to take physical objects belonging to her, and the religious guru will undertake a conversion therapy using psychic interventions to change her sexual orientation.“Fearing for her safety, the petitioner decided on the same day to leave her matrimonial home so that her family cannot find her and force to undergo dehumanising rituals and ceremonies,” the plea said.
She approached an NGO-Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), seeking a safe house. The NGO then informed the local police station that she has left her matrimonial home on her own accord and approached their office for help.
The petition stated that the police, “in brazen breach of law and their statutory obligations, leaked the information of the petitioner’s escape/departure from her matrimonial home and also leaked the contact details of the activists of ANHAD NGO to the petitioner’s father and other family members”.
The petition stated that the father-in-law of the woman serves in the Border Security Force (BSF) and her husband is in the India Air Force (IAF), and enjoy “significant clout”.
Taking note of the plea, Justice Mukta Gupta directed the police that no NGO members are harassed or harmed for helping her. The court also issued notice to the Delhi government on the petition.
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