Jaipur - In a landmark case heard by the Rajasthan High Court, a division bench led by Justice Pankaj Bhandari and Bhuvan Goyal intervened to rescue a young woman who had been unlawfully confined by her family due to her relationship with a transgender man. The court, addressing the habeas corpus petition, ruled in favour of the woman's right to autonomy and freedom to choose her life partner.
The petitioner stated that he was a transgender man, and he and the detainee were partners who wish to live together as a couple. The detainee was under immense pressure from her family to get married and since, the petitioner belonged to the transgender community, the detainee's family would opposed her relationship with the petitioner
The case unfolded when the woman, pursuing her MBA in Jaipur, met her partner on social media in April 2023. Their connection deepened, culminating in a decision to marry in September. However, her family vehemently opposed the relationship. The family filed a police report in October when she left home to be with her partner. However, the police found her and gave her custody to her family leading to her forcible confinement. The family's disapproval stemmed from the fact that the woman's partner, had undergone sex reassignment surgery to transition from a woman to a man.
Detailing the distressing turn of events, the detainee revealed before the court that her family closely monitored and restricted her every move, denying her communication and even threatening harm to the transman. In a desperate bid to obtain a mobile phone, the woman was coerced into an engagement in November, which failed to materialize as promised.
Taking matters into her own hands, she utilized her father's phone to inform her partner, who promptly filed a habeas corpus petition in the High Court.
The petitioner revealed that the detainee's suffering reached a critical point, pushing her to attempt suicide on December 1, 2023, through the ingestion of multiple sleeping pills. Despite surviving this harrowing incident, the petitioner, deeply concerned for the detainee's well-being, took proactive measures. On December 5 and 11, 2023, the petitioner urgently wrote emails to the High Court, Supreme Court, District Magistrate of Sawai Madhopur, Director General of Police in Jaipur, and the National Commission for Women, seeking immediate intervention from the authorities.
Regrettably, despite the petitioner's desperate pleas for help, local police visited the detainee at her parents' residence, and no action was taken to address her calls for rescue from torture, confinement, and harassment. The petitioner argued that the police's inaction directly jeopardized the detainee's life and well-being, asserting a failure to protect her fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. Consequently, the petitioner filed the present petition to secure the immediate release of the detainee from the alleged illegal captivity imposed by her parents.
The HC ordered the government to produce the woman before the court on January 8. During the court proceedings, the woman, recognizing the significance of her testimony, broke her silence and spoke up about her confinement.
The division bench, considering the woman's age and her right to make independent decisions, ordered her immediate release from captivity. The court further directed that she be taken to a place of her choosing under police protection, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding individual liberties and personal choices. The couple left for Rajkot on Tuesday.
Advocates Alind Chopra and Naman Maheshwari, representing the petitioner, highlighted the significance of the court's decision and disclosed that the High Court directed the Additional Advocate General (AAG) to ensure the immediate implementation of the order.
The young advocates took to social media and hailed the HC decision. They stated, that the ruling by the Rajasthan High Court not only sets a precedent in acknowledging and upholding the rights of individuals in unconventional relationships but also sends a strong message against forced confinement and opposition to personal choices.
In a conversation with The Mooknayak, Karuna, a prominent advocate for transgender rights, highlighted the challenging landscape for LGBTQ+ individuals in the Indian societal context. She emphasized the prevailing conservatism rooted in traditional values, resulting in a constrained acceptance of same-sex relationships. Karuna pointed out that members of the LGBTQ+ community often confront stigmatization and discrimination, as their unions are perceived as unconventional in the broader societal framework.