The Kerala High Court has directed the Inspector General of Registration to look into the validity of the registration of a non-governmental organisation called the Youth Enrichment Society (YES) Kerala, which has been accused of making derogatory remarks about the LGBTQIA+ community with the “nefarious intent to tarnish and cause them harm.” Justice Devan Ramachandran was passing the judgement on a petition filed by a group of LGBTQIA+ individuals and activists, who sought action against the organisation for “spearheading and spreading hate speech” against the LGBTQIA+ community under the guise of being a scientific and literary society.
During the hearing, government pleader Sunil Kumar Kuriakose submitted that two cases have been registered against YES Kerala in Malappuram — one of them charge-sheeted and listed for hearing before the Malappuram Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, while the other one is under investigation. He added that a decision regarding the action to be taken against YES Kerala shall be taken only after the investigation is completed.
Observing that there was no reason to keep the writ petition at the HC while two cases were still ongoing, the judge stated that any comment from the HC can have “repercussions in the ongoing criminal trial and investigation”, and so closed the case.
But the court also took note of the plea that the petitioners sought cancellation of the registration of YES Kerala, and directed the IG of Registration to look into the matter within three months of the judgement. The judge also recorded all of the petitioners’ submissions and allowed them to approach the HC again if required in the future.
Calling cyberbullying against LGBTQIA+ individuals as a “very serious issue”, the court had passed an interim order in December 2023 directing the authorities to take notice of the issue and take necessary action. The judge also reiterated at the time that every citizen has an equal right to live. “These rights are constitutionally provided and protected and cannot be attenuated or suppressed by any person who may have propagandist ideas or deleterious philosophies to follow,” he said.
The writ petition against YES Kerala had alleged that a complaint filed with the district registrar against the organisation was not paid heed to, leading YES Kerala to “freely, fearlessly, and profusely” spread hate speech against the community. The petitioners also sought the court to direct the state authorities to conduct an enquiry into their activities and cancel their registration, and to remove the unscientific and derogatory messages posted on social media.
YES Kerala claims it was launched with the intention of “protecting the younger generation” from “wokeism” and “rainbow propaganda”, and has consistently been sharing posts and stories alleging that queerness is unscientific, anti-religion, and anti-women.