The Madras High Court has ordered counselling for the parents of the lesbian couple who were facing strong opposition to their relationship from their families. In a frank admission, the judge confessed he was trying to break out of his own preconceived notions through this case.
The couple, a 22-year-old MBA student and a 20-year-old BA student, had eloped from their native Madurai in February 2021, due to the mounting pressure from their parents who were unable to accept the relationship. While the two women moved to Chennai where they are living under the supervision of NGO International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care, the parents registered police complaints alleging kidnapping.
After the complaints had been lodged, Madurai police allegedly started harassing activist Shiva Kumar and a trans man Selvam assuming they were sheltering the young women. The couple, therefore, made a protection plea to the court. Justice N Anand Venkatesh wanted to assess the situation by talking to all the concerned parties in person.
He observed that the parents were shocked when they first came to know of their respective daughters' relationship, but they were worried about their daughter's well-being and wanted to make sure that they were not being exploited. At the same time, he noticed that the women were very sure of the relationship and clear about what they wanted.
Justice Venkatesh ordered the petitioners and their parents to undergo counselling and referred them to Vidya Dinakaran, who specialises in working with the LGBTQ+ community. He told the counselor to submit a detailed report of her observations in the court before the next hearing scheduled on April 28.
In his order, Justice Venkatesh said that there is a lot to unlearn. He also acknowledged that he did some research himself before arriving at the judgement, adding, "This move becomes very vital since this Court is moving into unchartered waters, and a report from a specialist will provide support to this Court to move forward in this case."
Most importantly, the court directed Madurai police to close both the missing complaints against the petitioners. They were also told that they should not interfere in this matter any further.
The couple is currently trying to find jobs to sustain themselves.