Fokeerbux N.A. & ors v/s the State of Mauritius
in the presence of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Commissioner of police
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02 June 2022, Port Louis, Mauritius
For immediate release: Young LGBT activists have asked for constitutional redress before the Supreme Court of Mauritius on the basis that Section 250 (1) of the Criminal Code infringes their constitutional rights
On the 06 September 2019, four young LGBT Mauritians, who come from all parts of Mauritian society, have approached the Supreme Court of Mauritius for leave to seek constitutional redress on the basis that Section 250 (1) of the Criminal Code Act of 1838 (as amended) violates their fundamental rights and freedom and is unconstitutional.
The Plaintiffs, who come from Hindu, Christian and Muslim backgrounds, are all members of the Young Queer Alliance, a youth-led NGO dedicated to advancing human rights of LGBTI people in Mauritius. Three of the four plaintiffs are the first public officers to have openly declared that they are homosexuals. The fourth plaintiff is an artist.
The Plaintiffs are represented before the Supreme Court on a pro-bono basis by the team of lawyers of Dentons (Mauritius) LLP, comprising Me. Priscilla Balgobin Bhoyrul together with Me. Emmanuel Luchmun, instructed by Attorney B. Ramlochund and by Me. Sandy Bhaganooa, of the Franco-Mauritian Law Chambers LCMB et Associés, based in Paris and Mauritius.
The State of Mauritius represented by the Attorney General of the Republic of Mauritius is the defendant in the case and the co-defendants are the Director of Public Prosecutions (co-defendant no. 1) and the Commissioner of Police (co-defendant no. 2).
The Plaintiffs, two of whom have been in a committed relationship for seven years, testified before the Supreme Court on how Section 250 (1) inescapably affects all aspects of their life as homosexual persons such as the constant state of fear they live in, how the law restricts their ability to live their life fully and how the law prevents them from expressing themselves.
The Plaintiffs contended in their plaint for constitutional redress that Section 250(1) does not have its place in a modern and democratic Mauritius in that:
- LGBT people should benefit from the same protection afforded to other citizens such as protection from discrimination and should enjoy the same freedom of expression and right to privacy as them.
- Section 250 is contrary to the values of democracy and treats LGBT people as second-class citizens.
- There is no justifiable reason why section 250(1) should be maintained in our criminal code when it concerns two consenting adults.
The Plaintiffs have therefore requested from the Supreme Court of Mauritius:
- A declaration that sexual orientation forms part of and is implied in the definition of sex as enacted under Sections 3, 3 (a) and 16 of the Constitution of Mauritius.
- A declaration that Section 250 of the Criminal Code Act is unconstitutional.
- Alternatively, a declaration that Section 250 of the Criminal Code does not apply to consensual acts of sodomy performed by consensual adults.
The written submissions in law were on 01 June 2022. The Supreme Court has reserved its judgment.
The Plaintiffs are supported by the Young Queer Alliance.
Young Queer Alliance