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From left: BT Venkatesh (Senior Advocate), Arvind Narain of Alternative Law Forum, Shakun Mohini, women’s rights activist from Vimochana, Elavarthi Manohar of PRV, Shruthi and Sumithra Acharya (advocate and women’s rights activist)
Urgent need to create guidelines to deal with the Habeas Corpus petitions against women by families – Press Conference report

in INDIA, 07/08/2013

Praja Rajakiya Vedike organised a press meet to discuss the order passed by Hon’ble High Court of Kerala in the case of two women who wanted to live together and who were opposed to heterosexual marriage. One of the women, Saranya’s father had filed a writ petition seeking writ of Habeas Corpus alleging that his daughter Saranya is detained by Sruthi, whom he alleged had enticed to take his daughter away from Shornur, in Kerala.

The petition was simple and devoid of any detail. Court had directed the police to keep the detenue (Saranya) present before the court on 30th July, 2013. It was widely reported in the Media. Sangama came to know of the same from the media news immediately made arrangements to enable Saranya to reach the Court on 30th July, 2013.
 
Saranya reached the court much in advance at 10 am. Her parents and her maternal uncle were present. She spoke to them for about 15 minutes. It was the first case of the day and immediately beginning of the session of court, the counsel for the father of Saranya informed the court that the parents are unable to speak to the detenue and the court ordered that the detenue should be with the family without interference from anyone. She was with the family for nearly 3 hours. She was visibly distraught when the court assembled after recess at 1.45pm.

The court verified the affidavit filed by Saranya detailing the fact that she was not a detenue and that the  family was aware of her leaving the family and her decision to be at Bangalore. It is pertinent to note that Saranya has little knowledge of English. The counsel for Saranya had prepared the affidavit after discussing with her in Malayalam. The court enquired and Saranya stated that she is not aware of the contents of the affidavit. The court enquired the counsel and the counsel informed the court that immediate enquiry of the contents be made with her client in the open court. It was also suggested by the counsel that Saranya be enquired in private. Court did not agree to the same and opined that Saranya be sent to government shelter for some time and the matter be taken up after some days. Immediately the counsel appearing for the father of Saranya repeatedly stated that Saranya had stated to them that she wanted to go with her parents. Parents reiterated the same the court inquired Saranya and she nodded her head. Immediately the court stated that she is free to return home with her parents. A detailed order came to be passed. It was stated by Saranya that she had left home on her own volition to Bangalore. The police were directed to provide protection to the family for their safe return to her home and also directed the police to provide protection as and when required.

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