Allahabad HC comes to rescue of man fired over sexual orientation
The Allahabad high court has reinstated a Bulandshahr man in a government job after he was fired for his sexual orientation on the basis of a video that filmed him with his same-sex partner. The court underlined that a person’s sexual orientation was their individual choice.
The order was passed by justice Sunita Agarwal on February 2 but made public on Tuesday. It came on a dismissal order passed by the Bulandshahr district commandant of home guards on June 11, 2019, firing the petitioner, Pramod Kumar Sharma, from his position as a home guard.
The dismissal order came after unidentified people filmed Sharma with his partner and uploaded it on social media. In the dismissal order, the commandant referred to the sexual orientation of the petitioner as “indulgence in untoward activity”. But the HC rejected the reasoning and said it violated the Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 verdict in Navtej Johar vs Union of India that decriminalised homosexuality and upheld the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community. “It was held that any display of affection amongst the members of the LGBT community towards their partners in the public, so long as it does not amount to indecency or has the potentiality to disturb public order, cannot be bogged down by majority perception,” the court order read.
The court ordered the UP commandant general of home guards to take Sharma back in service with immediate effect.
“From the reading of the [dismissal] order itself, it is found to be vindictive in nature,” the order said.
Sharma’s lawyers hailed the order. “We were able to argue that the man was dismissed from his job with no opportunity to make his case, investigation, or inquiry committee,” said Awadesh Kumar Malviya, who represented Sharma.
Sharma was hired as a home guard in 1985 and promoted as an assistant company commander in 1992. On May 25, 2019, he was served with a show-cause notice by the Bulandshahr district commandant of home guards and asked to explain the video showing him with another man, also a home guard.