New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday, November 25, issued a notice to the Union government on two petitions filed by gay couples seeking recognition of same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli heard the matter and sought the response of the Union government within four weeks.
According to Bar and Bench, the lead petition, which was filed by Supriyo Chakraborty and Abhay Dang from Hyderabad, said that the right to marry a person of one’s choice should extend to LGBTQ+ citizens as well.
The couple has been together for almost 10 years, the report said.
Their petition said that despite having a wedding ceremony in December 2021, which was attended by their parents, family and friends, they do not enjoy the rights of a married couple.
The second petition, filed by Parth Phiroze Mehrotra and Uday Raj, said that they cannot have a legal relationship of a parent and child with both their children because they cannot legally solemnise their marriage, LiveLaw reported.
The petition also said that the non-recognition of same-sex marriages is violative of the right to equality under Article 14 and the right to life under Article 21 of the constitution.
It said while the right to marry a person of one’s choice is a fundamental right, the legal framework governing the institution of marriage does not allow members of the LGBTQ+ community to do so.
The couple has been in a relationship for the last 17 years, the report added.
The plea referred to Navtej Singh Johar and Ors. v. Union of India, which had held that homosexuals have the fundamental right to live with dignity, are “entitled to protection of equal laws, and are entitled to be treated in society as human beings without any stigma being attached to any of them”.
It also referred to NALSA v. Union of India case, in which the apex court had held that the constitution protects non-binary individuals and that the protections envisaged under Articles 14, 15, 16, 19 and 21 cannot be restricted to the biological sex of “male” or “female”.
“The use, in Section 4(c) of the words ‘male’ and ‘female’, as well as the use of gendered language such as the terms ‘husband/wife’ and ‘bride/bridegroom’ in other sections of the [Special Marriage] Act, limit the access to marriage to a couple comprising one ‘male’ and one ‘female’. Such limiting of access is violative of the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and 1s unconstitutional,” the plea said.