Orissa HC allows transman to continue live-in relationship with woman

Everyone has the right of self-determination of sex or gender, says Bench

August 26, 2020 03:02 pm | Updated 03:49 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

Photo for representational purpose

Photo for representational purpose

The Orissa High Court has allowed a transman to stay with his woman live-in partner, saying everyone has the right of self-determination of sex or gender and to enter into a live-in relationship with a person of his or her choice.

A Division Bench of Justices S. K. Mishra and Savitri Ratho pronounced the judgment while hearing the petition of a transman who had sought the court’s intervention for restoration of a live-in relationship with another woman.

The petitioner, Chinmayee Jena alias Sonu Krishna Jena, aged 24, whose gender assigned at the time of birth was female, exercised rights of self gender determination and preferred to be addressed as ‘he’.

Mr. Jena and his life partner Rashmi* had been living in a consensual relationship since 2017. According to an affidavit submitted before the court, they studied in the same school and college.

After studies, Mr. Jena got a private job at Bhubaneswar and was staying in rented house. Mr. Jena and Ms. Rashmi fell in love with each other in 2011. Both partners had sworn before the Executive Magistrate, Bhubaneswar, that they were in a live-in relationship in the same house. However, Ms. Rashmi’s mother and uncle took her against her will on April 9, 2020.

When Mr. Jena got to know that the family members of his partner were going to forcibly arrange her marriage with someone else, he filed an application for issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.

The petitioner, as per the Supreme Court’s decision that self-determination of gender is an integral part of personal autonomy and self-expression, got a certification of Gender Dysphoria for Trans-man from Dr. Amrit Pattojoshi, Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi.

According to the judgment, the doctor had opined that the petitioner has no psychotic symptoms or other psychiatric morbidities. The judges had also spoke to the petitioner’s partner over phone. Ms. Rashmi categorically stated that she wanted to join the petitioner without any further delay.

“The petitioner has the right of self-determination of sex/gender and also has the right to have a live-in relationship with a person of his choice even though such person may belong to the same gender as the petitioner. Therefore, we allow the writ application (criminal) and direct that the petitioner and his partner have the right to decide their sexual preferences including the right to stay as live-in partners,” said Justice Mishra.

“We hope and trust that the petitioner and his partner Rashmi will lead a happy and harmonious life so that their family members have no cause for worry and society has no excuse to raise a finger at them,” Justice Ratho.

The Orissa HC directed the State government to provide protection for the two. The lady (Rashmi) will have all the rights of a woman as enshrined under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the Bench said.

*Name changed

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