On Wednesday, Justice N. Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court said that he is not completely "woke" to the idea of same-sex relationships and that he will seek education from a psychologist to better understand the topic. According to the Judge, the psycho-education session will enable him to understand same-sex relationships and create the conditions for his progression.
This occurred during a hearing for a restraining order filed by a same-sex couple. He was coping with a lesbian couple's request for defence following "missing girl" allegations lodged by their family, who had opposed the same-sex relationship. When the case was first brought up, the Judge agreed that it needed to be handled with compassion and empathy and that it was an example of how society is still dealing with same-sex homosexuality.
'Petitioners fully comprehend the relationship they have entered into'
The Judge had previously ordered the pair and their families to attend counseling in order to better understand each other. The Judge stated on Wednesday that the petitioners have reconnected with their families and that the parents have gained a greater understanding of the couple's relationship, though some concerns about the stigma associated with such relationships persist in the parents minds. The Court also took the psychologist's opinion into consideration, which stated that the petitioners fully comprehend the relationship they have entered into and that they do have no doubts about it. They still have a lot of unconditional love for their parents, so their only fear is being forced to separate. Since the parties have made great progress, the Court was asked to provide recommendations to deal with similar cases in the future, so that people in same-sex marriages are treated with respect and their protection is assured. The court finds it appropriate to order the petitioners' parents to go through another round of counseling. He added, "Obviously, the evolution cannot take place overnight and it requires continuous effort to bring in a change", a report published by Bar and Bench.
It was called to the Court's attention that, despite the Court's orders, the police have yet to close the First Information Report. The learned Government Advocate told the Court that the First Information Report would be concluded and reported to this Court as soon as possible. The case was then scheduled to be heard on June 7th. The State's promise that the FIRs lodged on the parents' complaint will be closed immediately was also recorded by the Court.
The Logical Indian appreciates the Judge for making empathy and compassion a cornerstone for the approach towards the case, given the continued stigma against same-sex relationships. The honesty with which the Judge promised to consult experts to know more about same-sex relationships is also truly commendable. Progressive Judges and judgements can speed enable change in society for good and for all.