HC asks police to shift LGBTQ couple to safe house, provide security

 The Delhi High Court Friday directed the police to shift a LGBTQ community couple, wanting to get married and facing threat from families, to a safe house set up by the Delhi government and provide them adequate security.

Justice Mukta Gupta directed the SHO of Mayur Vihar Phase-I police station to ensure that the couple be taken from the office of an NGO, where they are currently residing, and lodged at the ‘safe house’ set up at Sewa Kutir complex in Kingsway Camp here.

The high court also asked the police officer to ensure that the couple will be given adequate security by the police at the ‘safe house’.

It also issued notices to the family members of the couple and listed the matter for further hearing on August 2.

A 60 sq yard safe house has been set up by the government in Kingsway Camp with two rooms, a toilet and a kitchen. It can accommodate three couples “whose relationship is opposed by their families or local community and khaps”.

The apex court had in 2018 passed an order to protect couples choosing interfaith or inter-caste marriages after NGO Shakti Vahini filed a petition against “honour killings”. It had asked states to look into the creation of safe houses for such couples.

Petitioner couple, through advocate Utkarsh Singh, approached the high court saying they are major and their relationship is not acceptable to their families as they belong to the LGBTQ community.

The counsel said the couple was assaulted by their family members after which they came to Delhi from Punjab to solemnise their marriage and is presently residing at the office of NGO Dhanak of Humanity.

On being asked by the court as to where the Delhi government has opened the ‘safe house’ in compliance of the Supreme Court’s order, additional standing counsel for the state Rajesh Mahajan submitted that it has been opened at Sewa Kutir complex in Kingsway Camp here.