The bench observed that public display of affection is only allowed if not indecent, hence restricting indecency if the public interest and sentiment are affected
By: Sanidhya Sharma, O.P. Jindal Global University
While directing the statement of a home guard, Allahabad High Court, they observed and stated that any display of affection among the members of the LGBT community towards their respective partners in public is allowed and without a problem by the majority. It is all okay as long as it does not amount to indecency or that has the potential to disturb the public order, they cannot be objected to or bogged down by the perception of the majority population.
The petitioner Pramod Kumar Sharma was sacked on the charge of ‘indecency’ as it was shown in the video in which he was allegedly seen to be displaying affection to his same-sex partner. Justice Sunita Agarwal termed this to be vindictive in nature and she rejected the order by canceling the appointment in Bulanshahr for the home Guard on account of the viral video of the petitioner and directed the commandment general of Home Guards, Headquarters Lucknow, to take him back in service as he got fired.
The court passed the order while taking note of the counter affidavit that was filed by the district commandment as a reply, where it was stated that the sexual orientation of the petitioner was showing indulgence in indecent or in any untoward activity that has affected the public sentiment.
“Contradicting to the decision made, the High Court stated that the order was in violation to the decision made by the Supreme Court, in the case of Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India reported in (2018) SCC 1, wherein it was observed by the Apex Court that the sexual orientation of the person is his individual and a private choice and if one treats it as an act of offense, this would be treated as the interference in the right to privacy of the person concerned.” This statement was stated by Justice Agarwal, giving a contradiction to the High court and the district commandment of the home guards.
The court observed that every individual has the right to privacy and affecting or violating it is itself a crime in disguise. Each person should be aware of his or her rights and if harmed shall take the matter straight to the court.
The High Court concluded by saying that the majority perception cannot be bogged down by the partners in the LGBT community if the display of affection in public is not indecent. Lastly, the court also stated that the petitioner shall be permitted to all the admissible dues and the payment shall be paid and given regularly as and when the same falls due. The writ petition that was filed was stated ‘allowed’ by the High Court. This decision was passed on 2nd February and this decision came to light on Monday.