Kochi, February 8: In a rare case of its kind, a queer man has approached the Kerala High Court seeking permission to receive the mortal remains of his partner, who died after falling from the terrace of their residence in Kochi. The petitioner, Jebin, has alleged that the family of his late partner, Manu, declined to cover the medical expenses and collect the body from a private hospital in Kochi, where he was admitted in a critical condition on February 2.
According to the Madhyamam report, Manu succumbed to his injuries on the night of February 4 after being on ventilator support for two days. Jebin, who was living with Manu in Kochi, claimed that they had been in a committed relationship for over three years and had the consent of their friends and relatives. However, the law does not recognise him as a legal heir of Manu, and hence, he was denied the right to claim his body. HC on Freedom of Expression: Intolerance to Artistic Expression, Culture Does Not Befit Our Country, Says Kerala High Court.
Queer Man Moves Kerala High Court To Claim Partner's Body
Jebin later filed a petition with the High Court seeking permission to claim his late partner’s body and perform the last rites as per his wishes. The High Court promptly reviewed the petition and sent a notice to the private hospital via email, asking them to preserve the body until further orders.
The High Court also directed that a family member of Manu appear before it on Thursday afternoon when the matter will be heard. During the hearing on February 6, the High Court requested an explanation regarding the government protocol for unclaimed bodies. Dalit Student's Hair Chopped in Kerala: High Court Grants Anticipatory Bail to School Headmistress Accused of Cutting Class 5 Student's Hair During School Assembly.
Legal Battle After Family Refuses To Receive Queer Son's Body
According to the protocol, when biological family members or legal heirs fail to claim a body, it is typically transferred to a government medical college for medical research or disposed of as per the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission.
Advocate Padma Lakshmi, Kerala’s first transgender lawyer, representing Jebin, said that this case concerns the rights of a queer individual, and Manu’s body has the right to receive every religious ceremony and dignity in death. She also argued that the law should recognise the relationship between Jebin and Manu and grant them the same rights as heterosexual couples.
She cited the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in 2018, which decriminalised homosexuality and recognised the right to love and privacy of LGBTQ+ individuals. She also referred to the recent verdict of the Madras High Court, which held that same-sex couples can register their marriages under the Special Marriage Act.
She urged the High Court to issue appropriate directions to the authorities to respect the wishes of Jebin and Manu and allow them to bid farewell to each other in a dignified manner.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 08, 2024 04:23 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).