State cannot interfere in the private lives of individuals; protection denied to homosexual-transgender couple from harassment

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Pankaj Mithal and Ravindra Nath Kakkar, JJ., dismissed a writ petition seeking protection from the harassment and interference into the personal lives of the petitioners, which they were being subjected to by the respondents.

The petitioners were young men of the age of 20 and 22 years respectively, with the latter being identified as a transgender; not well educated and plied their trade as a saree-salesman and a dancer, earning modest wages. They stated that they had been living in the same residential area, had fallen in love and were living together. However, the father of one of the petitioners, as well as his maternal uncle, did not approve of the situation and thus, had subjected the petitioners to harassment and abuse, as a result of which the petitioners had filed a writ petition seeking protection from the aforementioned harassment, as they had not committed any offence so as to warrant any outside interference into their private lives.

The Court held that it is the prerogative of the welfare state to ensure that the law and order in the state, as well as its overall security, are given the utmost importance and priority. However, it does not imply that every individual is to be accorded separate protection, something which is not even feasible for the state to provide, and hence,the state is not obligated to interfere in the private lives of individuals and the predicament in which the petitioners find themselves, can only be resolved internally, or through society. Furthermore, the Court held that, the petitioners can resort to the appropriate formal mechanisms of grievance redressal for harassment provided under the law, such as approaching the magistrate or filing an FIR, but the remedy that the petitioners sought for in the writ petition was one which cannot be granted as the extraordinary jurisdiction of the court cannot be exercised where there has been no miscarriage of justice and thus, there was no need for the court to exercise the same in the present case. [Gulfam Malik v. State of U.P., Writ C No. – 32683 of 2018, order dated 27-09-2018]

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