The Allahabad High Court has reinstated a man to his government job in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr city, after his appointment was cancelled on the basis of a video that revealed his sexual orientation, Live Law reported on Tuesday. The court said that treating sexual orientation as an offence interfered with the person’s right to privacy.
On June 11, 2019, the district commandant of Home Guards of Bulandshahr had passed an order cancelling the appointment of Pramod Kumar Sharma, according to Bar and Bench. The order came after unidentified people filmed Sharma with his partner and uploaded it on social media. In the dismissal order, the commandant referred to Sharma’s sexual orientation as “indulgence in untoward activity”, reported the Hindustan Times.
Sharma then filed a writ petition in the Allahabad High Court, challenging the order. In a previous hearing of the case, the court had asked the officer who passed the order cancelling the appointment, to file a counter affidavit to the petition, Live Law reported.
On February 2, a single-judge bench of Justice Sunita Agarwal noted that the mention of Sharma’s sexual orientation as “indulgence in untoward activity” was in violation of the Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 verdict that decriminalised homosexuality and upheld the rights of the LGBT community.
“The apex court in the said case has held that the sexual orientation of the person is his individual choice and any act of treating it as an offence would be interference in the right of the privacy of the person concerned,” the High Court said in its order, according to Bar and Bench. The court further said that “any display of affection” among members of the LGBT community in public “cannot be bogged down by the majority perception”, so long as it does not amount to indecency or disturb public order.
The judge held the order cancelling the appointment “vindictive in nature” and said that Sharma be reinstated at his position as a home guard with immediate effect and be paid all his pending dues.