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PIL in Delhi HC seeking recognition of same-sex marriage; Centre opposed the plea

Centre opposed a plea filed before the Delhi High Court for recognition and registration of same-sex marriages.

On behalf of the LGBTQ community, a petition was filed before the Delhi HIgh Court, seeking declaration for recognition of same sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The petitioners contended that the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 does not put any bar on same sex marriages and is not discriminatory to homo-sexuals and hetro-sexuals as, the Act provides for marriage among ‘any two Hindus’.

The plea avers that Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, which lays down the conditions for a valid marriage does not provide that the marriage must be among a Hindu man and a Hindu woman.

The petitioners argued,

“Despite the fact that there is absolutely no statutory bar under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Special Marriage Act of 1954 against gay marriage, the same are not being registered throughout the country and also in the National Capital Territory of Delhi."

The petition further stated that even after decriminalisation of consensual homosexual acts, same-sex couples are being refused registration.

Representing the Union of India, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted,

"Our culture and law don't recognize the concept of same-sex marriages". Mr. Mehta argued that as per law, a marriage is only between a husband and a wife.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated that all the provisions relating to marriage have been codified using the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ and as it can not be determined in same-sex marriages, unless these statutory provisions are altered, the relief claimed by the petitioners can not be granted.

A two judges Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan stated that changes are happening around the world and even though the legal position might be different, the petition must be heard with an open mind.

The bench stated that the petitioners could, at first apply for registration of marriage and if they are denied registration, then they could approach the Court. To this, Advocate Raghav Awasthi (representing the petitioners) informed Court that there have been many instances of gay couples getting married but being refused registration.

The Court ordered the petitioners to bring the persons aggrieved of non-registration of same-sex marriage on record on the next date of hearing.

The matter will be heard on October 21.






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