Madras HC Urges Tamil Nadu Government to Consider Procedure for Registering Civil Unions Among LGBTQIA+ Partners


LI Network

Published on: November 18, 2023 at 11:45 IST

The Madras High Court has recommended the Tamil Nadu government to explore the possibility of establishing a procedure for registering the Deed of Familial Association, recognizing civil unions among LGBTQIA+ partners.

Justice Anand Venkatesh suggested this measure to safeguard the fundamental rights of individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community, emphasizing the need for protection and recognition.

The suggestion emerged during an ongoing hearing, where the court has been actively addressing issues surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community, aiming to eradicate societal stigma and ensure the welfare of its members.

Prasanna, intervening in the proceedings, proposed the idea of the “Deed of Familial Association,” asserting that such an instrument could grant individuals the right to live in a relationship while ensuring protection and rights.

Previously, the Tamil Nadu government had informed the court about its ongoing efforts to formulate a policy specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community, a pioneering initiative in the country.

While several states have policies focusing on the welfare of the transgender community, Tamil Nadu’s proposed policy marks the first comprehensive approach addressing the LGBTQIA+ community’s needs.

Prasanna emphasized the importance of familial recognition within the LGBTQIA+ community and suggested that the “Deed of Familian Association” could serve as a legal instrument to establish and protect relationships.

This, according to Prasanna, could be particularly valuable in situations where LGBTQIA+ individuals face harassment, societal scrutiny, or potential danger.

The court, referencing a recent Supreme Court verdict in the Supriyo case, highlighted the Apex Court’s acknowledgment of the right to choose a relationship and the associated right to protection, emphasizing the need to avoid harassment.

The court noted that the proposed “Deed of Familial Association” aligns with the rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution and does not violate the Indian Contract Act.

Recognizing the potential value of such a deed in conferring respect and status to LGBTQIA+ relationships, the court suggested that the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department, already working on a policy for the LGBTQIA+ community, could consider incorporating Prasanna’s proposal.

By establishing a procedure for registering such deeds, the state could significantly enhance the status and recognition of LGBTQIA+ individuals in society. This recommendation aligns with the court’s broader efforts to promote inclusivity and protect the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

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