Kerala High Court, lesbian couple
The Kerala High Court on Thursday cleared the way for a man to pay respects to the mortal remains of his deceased companion. (Jebin Joseph v State of Kerala)
Justice Devan Ramachandran He said that the man, one Jebin Joseph, should be allowed to attend the last rites of his companion Manu, as long as Manu’s family did not object to it.
The judge also ordered the government’s lawyer to ensure that Joseph receives all the support he needs to attend the funeral.
In ordering, the Court observed that legal precedents, international human rights schemes and legislation dating back to the 1949 Geneva Convention make it clear that the right of an individual to a decent and dignified burial remains inviolable and outside of all doubt.
“This court is in no doubt that the constitutionally protected and guaranteed right of every individual to dignity and fair treatment, especially under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, cannot be construed to cease with death but rather continues at least until the moment the mortal remains are treated. the respect it inspires. Through judicial interventions, these rights have obtained reformulations over time and have now been resolved through a chain of precedents, so they practically have the force of law.“said the Court.
The Court was considering a petition filed by Joseph, whose partner Manu suffered an accidental death on February 3.
He tried to get the body released from Aster Medcity hospital, which demanded payment of an amount of ₹1.3 lakh for the same.
He maintained that he had been told that the body would not be given to him in any case because he had no rights under any legislative or customary law, Joseph argued.
The petition claimed that Manu’s parents and other family members had given up on him solely because they opposed his life choices, particularly the fact that he was a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Joseph argued that, for all practical purposes intended, he becomes the only surviving person with any interest in Manu’s mortal remains. Therefore, she has the right to receive the body so that he can give his late partner the send-off he deserves.
At Thursday’s hearing, Joseph’s lawyer stated that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are more sensitive than others and the death of a couple affects them greatly. They said the lack of respect shown to the mortal remains has been catastrophic for their client, as well as contrary to the public spirit of the nation.
The court was also informed that Joseph had managed to raise Rs 1 lakh and that Manu’s brother had come to the hospital to collect the body.
Therefore, the lawyer requested the Court to allow Joseph to collect the mortal remains or participate in the funeral rites if performed by Manu’s family.
The State’s attorney said that they are trying to help as much as possible and are willing to provide any necessary support in the future.
The State also offered to have police personnel present when Joseph meets Manu’s brother at the hospital.
While Joseph’s lawyer asked the Court to lay down the law on certain rights of cohabitants, Justice Ramachandran opined that such an exercise would be merely academic as Manu’s brother had no objection to Joseph attending the funeral.
Joseph was represented by lawyers Prashanth Padmanabhan, Padma Lakshmi and Haseena T.
Government advocate Sunil Kumar Kuriakose appeared on behalf of the State.
History to be updated with the order.