Same-Sex Couple Moves Delhi High Court Seeking Right To Marry Under Special Marriage Act

The petition states that the right to choose one's partner is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21.

Priyanka Chakrabarty
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A plea was filed in Delhi High Court to allow same-sex couples to solemnise their marriage under Special Marriage Act, 1954. The petition was filed by Dr Kavita Arora on Thursday, who has been living with their partner Ankita Khanna for the last eight years. One of the partners is a psychiatrist and another is a therapist. They have been living together, sharing finances and even taking care of one of their parents who is now 88 years old.


The petition urges the Delhi High Court to issue directions to the marriage officer, in South East Delhi, to solemnise their marriage under Special Marriage Act. The petition states that the right to choose one's partner is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21. The right, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India, must extend to same sex couples as well. The petition has also invoked Navtej Johar vs Union of India and stated that if marriage is not allowed to be solemnised it will be a violation of equality before law. This would also be contradictory to the landmark Navtej Johar judgment.

Also Read: Marriage Is Not Consent. Marriage Is A Social Contract.

The petition further states that the right to choose a marriage partner is a positive obligation that the State must fulfil through existing marriage laws. Hence, same-sex marriage must be a part of the civil marriage laws and personal laws that govern marriages in this country. Not allowing same-sex marriage would be a violation of fundamental rights of liberty, equality and dignity.

The petitioners are represented by Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy, Ms Arundhuti Katju, Mr Goving Hariharn and Ms Surabhi Dhar. On Thursday, the matter came up for hearing before the single judge bench of Justice Naveen Chawla. The matter has been directed to be heard by a division bench consisting of the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, as per a report by The Sentinal Assam. The same bench is already hearing a PIL on same-sex marriages which seeks solemnisation under Hindu Marriage Act, and is listed to be heard on 14 October, 2020.

Also Read: Arundhati Katju And Menaka Guruswamy In Time 100 Influencers In World

Why It Matters?

This is the third petition to be filed at a High Court to solemnise same-sex marriage. Before this, two petitions has been filed, one at the Kerala High Court and the second at the Delhi High Court. This petition also filed at Delhi High Court is different than the earlier petition because it seeks to extend marriage rights under Special Marriage Act, which is a civil law and applies to individuals irrespective of religion. The earlier petition seeked to solemnise same-sex marriage under Hindu Marriage Act which was slammed to be a politically coloured petition.

Priyanka is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

Delhi High Court same-sex marriage Special Marriage Act Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy same sex couples