Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 7, (BPNS)
The Kerala High Court’s directive to a 23-year-old woman, who is in a same-sex relationship, to undergo a counseling session has been stayed by the Supreme Court.
The apex court, instead, directed to produce the girl before the Family Court of Kollam on Wednesday for an interview with a senior judicial officer.
The officer is entrusted with the task to record the statement of the girl and submit the same to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover before February 17.
Earlier, the high court had passed the order on February 2 in a habeas corpus petition filed by her same-sex partner alleging that she is under illegal detention.
The high court then directed that the woman shall have to attend a counseling session in an authorized counseling center over the next four or five days and the proceedings have been listed on February 16. The court had also stated then that the secretary of the District Legal Services Authority to visit her residence and record her statement to ascertain whether she is under their illegal detention.
At the same time, her partner in a special leave petition filed before the Supreme Court argued that the direction of the high court to record the statement when she was under the confines of her parents would not serve the purpose. Also, the instruction to attend counseling sessions is fundamentally erroneous.
Hearing the matter, the bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha and JB Pardiwala stayed the directives as well as further proceedings before the high court.
“The woman will have to be presented before the Family Court of Kollam by 5 pm on February 8. The Principal Judge of the Family Court shall arrange for an interview of the woman with Saleena V G Nair, a Member of the E-Committee of the Supreme Court, who is a senior judicial officer from Kerala. The interview shall be arranged in consultation with the Principal Judge of the Family Court,” reads an excerpt of the order from the Supreme Court.
It further added, “The officer shall after interacting with the woman submit a report after ascertaining her wishes and whether she is voluntarily residing with her parents or is kept under illegal detention. The Principal Judge of the Family Court and Saleena shall ensure that the statement of the woman is recorded in a fair and free manner without any coercion or duress from the parents.”