India re-enacted its colonial-era Sodomy law in 2013, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. The country provides no recognition for same-sex couples. However, the Court of Appeal today quashed a challenge from a married lesbian couple – who had sought leave to remain in the UK amid Home Office attempts to send them back to India. The couple, known as CB and SB for legal reasons, entered the UK legally in 2007. The pair entered a civil partnership in Scotland in 2008, and converted into marriage in 2015.
Represented by S Chevlan of No5 Chambers, CB and SB had applied to extend their leave to remain in the UK on the grounds of human rights laws protecting right to a family life – but the Court of Appeal dismissed their challenge.The court ruled that even though India provides no legal protection or recognition for married same sex couples, it would not amount to a violation of their right to a family life, and that the law in the country is not extreme enough to warrant leave to remain in the UK.The pair had argued that they suffered “verbal abuse and jokes” in India before they moved to the UK – and that if sent back their marriage would be effectively voided.
However, the appeals court upheld the findings of a previous Tribunal, which had ruled “there would be no nullification or flagrant violation of their rights to family life on their return to India”.It ruled: “The situation in India for lesbians is improving, in part due to the visible public debate as to the rights of same-sex couples”.