In a remarkable judgement, the Allahabad High Court of Uttar Pradesh said that it is wrong to remove any employee from their job due to their sexual orientation.
The HC said that the mention of a person's sexual orientation as "indulgence in untoward activity" was in violation of the Supreme Court's landmark verdict passed in 2018 that decriminalised homosexuality and upheld the rights of the LGBT community.
The court underlined that a person’s sexual orientation was their private matter and individual choice that is protected by the right to privacy.
The order was passed by justice Sunita Agarwal on February 2 but made public on Tuesday.
The case is related to a home guard posted in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh. He had been removed from his service for being homosexual. The home guard had been sacked after a video showing him with his partner went viral in 2019.
The district commandant of the home guard fired him from his job in June 2019 after unidentified people filmed the latter with his partner and uploaded it on social media.
According to media reports, in the dismissal order, the commandant referred to the sexual orientation of the petitioner as “indulgence in untoward activity.”
During the hearing, the district commandant of the home guard department defended the sacking, saying he was thrown out of service due to unethical sexual activities.
Referring to the principles laid down in the 2018 Navtej Singh Johar case, the Allahabad High Court observed that the Supreme Court held that “any display of affection” amongst the members of the LGBT community towards their partners in public “cannot be bogged down by the majority perception", so long as it does not amount to indecency or disturb public order.
The Supreme Court had ruled that any person had the right to choose his or her partner and that his or her choice of partner falls under the domain of his or her right to privacy.
The Allahabad High Court has reversed the decision to sack the home guard, restoring his employment under the government. The court ordered the UP commandant general of home guards to take the Bulandshahr home guard back in service with immediate effect.
The order states,"The petitioner shall be entitled to all admissible dues and the honorarium shall be paid regularly as and when the same falls due.”
(Edited by Anju Narayanan)