By Diya Nayak
29th August, 2020
Odisha High Court granted permission to a trans-man and his female partner to have a live-in relationship and granted the female partner protection under the Domestic Violence Law of 2005 and legal rights in the event of a separation. The Petitioner, A 24-year-old Trans-man, stated that he and his partner were subject to domestic violence and forced to separate by the latter’s mother.
The bench that passed this petition was led by Justice S.K Mishra, and Justice Savitri Ratho. They signed two concurrent orders, which granted permission to the couple to continue their live-in relationship and granted them the right to life, right to equality before the law, and protection under the Part-III of the Indian Constitution. Both orders allowed haebus corpus, which grants the rights to an individual to report unlawful detention and request the court to determine whether the detention was unlawful.
The petitioner, who was a female at birth, preferred to use he/him pronouns, exercised his right to self gender identification under the Supreme Court’s 2014 NALSA Case, which directed Central and State courts to grant legal recognition to the third gender. He claimed that he filed a petition in the State High Court after the Police Dismissed his complaint when his partners family took her to her back home to Jajpur and forced the woman to marry another person.
The bench stated that they have no scope for any other judgment other than stating that the petitioner has the right to self-determination of gender and has the right to continue a live-in relationship with the person they desired, regardless of what gender the person in question identified with. The court also took the concerns of the petitioner's partner’s mother into consideration, giving the woman’s family permission to stay in contact with her through telephonic conversations and granted her visitation rights, while stating that the woman must maintain extending her daughterly duties towards her family.
The bench communicated with the female partner through video conferencing to know her preference on the matter and granted her rights and protection as a woman under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005. In addition to this, the woman was made aware that she had complete and binding rights that allow her to separate with her partner if the relationship fails, without judicial intervention.
Justice Ratho commented that love knows no bounds and that freedom of choice is available to each individual to pick their sexual preferences and partners.
Sources: The Print, The Wire
Edited by Sagarika Satapathy.