While hearing a matter regarding a same-sex couple in Madras High Court last week, Justice N Anand Venkatesh declared he would like to undergo psycho-education to be more 'woke' in the matter. He has also asked the parents of the couple to attend counselling which he had asked him to do in the last hearing as well.
The case concerns two women who eloped from their native Madurai and started living as a couple in Chennai in February. Both their parents had registered police complaints alleging kidnapping, which led to alleged harassment of NGO activists who helped the women by the police. The women made a protection plea to the court after this. In the last hearing a month prior, Justice Venkatesh had asked the parents as well as the couple to undergo counseling.
Court appointed psychologist Vidhya Dinakaran presented her report regarding these counseling sessions. She said that the women were very much in love and understood what the relationship entailed. She also told the court that while they loved their parents, they feared being forced to separate if they went back home.
The parents, she said in the report, were concerned about the stigma and social consequences of the relationship. However, they were also worried about their daughters' safety in the big city. They also expressed confusion regarding marriage, kids and other aspects of the relationship. In his order, Justice Venkatesh mentions an observation of Dinakaran as per which the parents said they would prefer the women to live a life of celibacy which they thought would be more dignified than being in a same-sex relationship.
The lawyer of the petitioners requested the judge to set down a set of guidelines to be followed in similar cases in the future. He said he needed more time to churn his thoughts on the topic. Justice Venkatesh also admitted to not being woke enough on the topic, and so requested a psycho-education session with Dinakaran for himself.
"I honestly think that such a session with a professional will help me understand same sex relationship better and will pave a way for my evolution. If I write an order after undergoing psycho-education, I trust the words will fall from my heart," he said in the order.
He also said that the parents needed another session with the counselor, and ordered the same to be arranged.