SC: Allow homosexual couple to live together, Orders to provide Non-Tourist Visa to American National

Madhav Dulal/Kathmandu (Pahichan) February 20 – Supreme Court has ordered to provide Non-Tourist Visa to an American National who did same-sex marriage with Nepali women. A joint-bench of Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Tanka Bahadur Moktan Lesly Louis issued an order in the name of Department of immigration to provide Non-Tourist visa. Earlier, Department of Immigration decided not to provide Non-Tourist Visa.

Suman Panta who came to Nepal after a court marriage at California with Louis had registered a case at Supreme Court. Panta in his writ has stated that he is a member gender and sexual minority group. Petitioner argued that as constitution has already ensured the rights of gender and sexual minority, and there is a legal provision that foreign national marrying with Nepali citizen would get Non-Tourist Visa, government cannot deny visa.

Panta said they are denied from the rights of living together which is against the spirit of natural law. According to SC order, it must be established that both are male and female in all the documents required for getting visa. The 20-page long document states that gender in constitution does not only mean male and female.

So SC has said that transgender should not be denied from the rights enshrined in constitution and there must be equal protection of constitution for all citizens. SC is of the view that due to the social negligence, it would affect to their education and health which is likely to promote early drop outs in school, lack of employment and they could face serious health hazards. Similarly, SC said they are vulnerable to various discrimination and torture.

The court has also expected that Federal Parliament would implement the constitutional rights of this community.  SC believes that as constitution has already accepted separate identity of this community, federal parliament would formulate positive laws which help for the empowerment of this community and remove the walls of barrier that members of this community are facing.

The final part of verdict says: “This court has already issued an order in the name of government to formulate laws or amend the existing laws to provided equal rights to this community without any discrimination.”  With a hope that Federal Parliament would play a positive role, there are not any directives. On the behalf of petitioners, Advocates Deepak Raj Joshi and Biswas Acharya participated in the hearing.

Please click here for full-text of verdict