Delhi High Court (Delhi HC) on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre and Delhi Government. This is concerning the petitions that had been filed in the Delhi HC seeking same sex marriage registration under Special Marriages Act, 1954. A division bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon heard both the petitions. The next hearing will take place on 8th January, 2021.
Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy, representing petitioners Dr Kavita Arora and Ankita Khanna, argued that act of not allowing solemnisation of same sex marriage amounts to “amounts to disrobing the same- sex couple of their inherent dignity”. The precedent set by Puttaswamy judgment was evoked stating that privacy cannot be used a ground for discrimination. Along with this the Navtej Johar judgement was also invoked to state that sexual orientation cannot be grounds for discrimination as it violates Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 14, 15, 19 and 21.
The advocate representing Union of India stated that same sex marriage is against sanatan dharma. The Bench responded to this claim by stating that sanatan dharma must be read in favour of citizens. This is not an adversarial petition.
UOI: This is a peculiar situation, we need to look at this history of Sanatan Dharma
Court: Please try to interpret the law in favour of the rights of the citizens of the 'Sanatan Dharma' country. The law is gender-neutral, don't see this petition as adversarial
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) October 14, 2020
Why It Matters
Currently, the Delhi High Court is hearing three petitions concerning same sex marriage. One petition is being heard by the Kerala High Court. There is a push by the petitioners to make the provisions of Special Marriages Act, 1954 to be gender neutral so it applies to all individuals irrespective of gender identity and sexual orientation. The next hearing is stated to be on January, 2021. This gives the central government and the state government to file their counter affidavits. Same sex marriage continues to remain an issues which has caused a schism in the queer community.