Three weeks after the Supreme Court legitimised same-sex relationships, a lesbian couple in Kerala had more reason to celebrate after the Kerala High Court Monday allowed them to live together. Aruna (24) and Sreeja (36) were separated forcibly in August when Aruna’s family had even admitted her to a mental hospital.
Following the HC order, the couple has now moved into Sreeja’s house in Kollam. Produced before the High Court on Monday, Aruna expressed her intention to live with Sreeja and the High Court allowed it.
Sreeja is now not worried about what others think about the affair. “I have started my life now with my cherished partner. I have no plan to undergo a sex change surgery as Aruna is against it. She loves my body and has accepted it,’’ she said.
Aruna, who is trying to find a job in Kerala, said her parents had tortured her to change her mind. “I have discovered the lesbian in me five years ago. Recently, my parents had got an inkling of my nature. They had feared that I had strayed into a wrong way. Of course, the parents have to think about the life of my younger sister. But, I want to live with the partner of my choice,’’ she said.
Sreeja, who works in Kuwait as a saleswoman, met Aruna, a post-graduate in Economics, on a website for same-sex couples two years ago.
“I have been a lesbian for the last nine years. Two years ago, we met on a website and the friendship slowly became very strong. Last year, I told Aruna that I wanted her in my life, she accepted and we decided to marry and live together,’’ said Sreeja.
On August 12, Sreeja and Aruna tied the knot at the latter’s home in Thiruvananthapuram as per Hindu traditions when her parents were away. The next day, Aruna left home to join Sreeja in Kollam.
When Aruna told her parents about the wedding, they filed a missing person complaint with the police. The next day, Sreeja produced Aruna at a magistrate court in Thiruvananthapuram, which set her free. “When Aruna came out of the court and wanted to join me, her parents and relatives manhandled me. I tried my best to hold on to her but they forcibly took her away from me,’’ said Sreeja.
Aruna was admitted to a mental hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. At the hospital, she managed to tell Sreeja about her situation and they even met twice at the hospital. “She was willing to come with me. But, hospital authorities did not permit it,” said Sreeja.
With Aruna in her parents’ custody, Sreeja began a legal battle to get her partner back. With the support of advocate K K Preetha, who is part of the Human Rights Law Network, Sreeja filed a habeas corpus petition in the High Court on September 12. They pointed out the recent Supreme Court verdict which had decriminalised homosexuality.