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Uttarakhand HC: Parties Belonging to Same Gender Have a Right to Live Together Even Outside Wedlock

“consensual cohabitation between two adults of the same sex cannot in our understanding be illegal far or less a crime” – HC

On 12th June, Uttarakhand High Court passed a notable judgement. The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition file by filed by Madhu Bala who claimed that her alleged partner Meenakshi was being illegally confined by her mother and brother.

In a series of remarkable observation, Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma said, “consensual cohabitation between two adults of the same sex cannot in our understanding be illegal far or less a crime because it’s a fundamental right is being guaranteed to the person under article 21 of the constitution of India, which inheres within its ambit and it is wide enough in its amplitude to protect an inherent right of self determination with regards to one’s identity and freedom of choice with regards to the sexual orientation of choice of the partner”.

The case however was dismissed as Meenakshi expressed that she was not under any pressure by her family and also that she does not want to continue the relationship with the petitioner.

Even then, the bench made a substantial remark, “Even if parties, who are living together even though they are belonging to the same gender; they are not competent to enter wedlock, but still they have got a right to live together even outside the wedlock. It would further be not out of pretext to mention that a live-in relationship has now being recognized by the legislature itself, which has found its place under the provisions of protection of women from Domestic Violence Act”.

It was further added, “[It] is the strength provided by our constitution, which lies in its acceptance of plurality and diversity of the culture. Intimacy of marriage, including the choice of partner, which individual make, on whether or not to marry and whom to marry are the aspects which exclusively lies outside the control of the state or the society”.

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