Dismissing a petition challenging the filing of a criminal case for alleged abetment to suicide of a person of the LGBT community, the High Court of Karnataka said that everyone, including the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other sexual orientations and genders), should be treated with love and care so that lives are not lost.
“The deceased in the case at hand is the one belonging to the LGBT community. The sensitivity of them being ostracised pervades their psyche. Therefore, such people must be treated with all love and affection… If every citizen would treat such citizens with all love and care, as is done to a normal human, precious lives would not be lost,” Justice M Nagaprasanna said in his judgment.
Three colleagues of the deceased had approached the high court after the Whitefield police registered a case of abetment to suicide against them.
The father of the deceased, who is from Uttar Pradesh, had complained that the three had constantly harassed his son for his sexual orientation, leading him to commit suicide. Among the accused, one is from Bengaluru, while the second and third accused are from Uttar Pradesh. All of them were colleagues in a company in Bengaluru.
The deceased person had worked in the company from 2014 to 2016. He rejoined the same company in 2022 as manager of visual merchandising.
It is alleged that his colleagues were “putting him down by cracking unsavoury jokes. All the team members are said to have teased the deceased on his sexual orientation.” He resigned on February 28 but later withdrew his resignation. Allegedly he was given a position that he was not comfortable with.
He then complained to the Internal Complaints Committee constituted under the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act. He also registered a complaint under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. He also approached the Assistant Commissioner of Police alleging harassment by the three colleagues.
The victim committed suicide on June 3, 2023.
His father registered a complaint the following day after which the accused filed a petition in the high court.
The Court in its judgment said, “Unfortunately, the precious life of a youth is lost in the case at hand, all for the prima facie allegations of pointing at sexual orientation of the deceased. Therefore, it is for every citizen to bear this in mind while interacting with sensitive people. It is necessary that every one of us introspects on this issue. After all, everyone of them is a human being and all are worthy of equality.”
The HC also noted that the investigation is still in progress. “It is barely three days after registration of the FIR that the present petition is filed and, today, it is barely 49 days of registration of the FIR. The investigation is still in progress. It is not a case where there is no prima facie material or the allegations are made out of thin air,” the HC said in its recent judgment.
Refusing to interfere in the criminal proceedings, the HC dismissed the petition saying, “Cases which involve death of a person and the accused are guilty of abetment to suicide of the said victim will have to be considered owing to the facts of each case. There cannot be any particular parameter, yardstick, or theorem for interference, particularly in cases of abetment to suicide.”