SC Forwards Same-Sex Marriage Matter To Constitution Bench

| Updated: March 13, 2023 6:11 pm

As the issue is of “seminal importance,” the Supreme Court on Monday referred the petitions seeking the legal recognition of same-sex marriages to a five-judge constitution bench for adjudication.

A bench presided over by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud stated that the representations on the matter include a balancing act between special legislative enactments, such as the Special Marriage Act, on the one hand, and constitutional rights on the other.

“We are of the considered view that it would be appropriate if the issues raised are resolved by a bench of five judges with due regard to Article 145 (3) of the Constitution. Thus, we direct the matter be placed before a five-judge Constitution bench,” said the bench, also comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala.

The court posted the matter for arguments on April 18 and said the proceedings will be live-streamed as is done in case of hearings before the constitution benches.

In his appearance on behalf of the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged the court to hear all sides out because the outcome will have an impact on society as a whole.

A number of petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages have been contested by the Centre in the Supreme Court on the grounds that they will completely upset the delicate balance between personal law and widely held social norms.

The government stated in an affidavit submitted to the top court that the petitioners cannot assert a basic right for same-sex marriage to be recognised under national legislation, despite Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code being decriminalised.

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