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Supreme Court to pronounce judgment on same-sex marriage today

New Delhi: The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Tuesday its judgement on a batch of pleas seeking legal sanction for same-sex marriages in India.

A five-judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha had, on May 11, 2023, reserved the judgement after 10 days of hearing.

Senior advocates, A M Singhvi, Raju Ramachandran, K V Viswanathan (now elevated as SC judge), Anand Grover and Saurabh Kirpal, argued on behalf of 21 petitioners in the case.

The Centre had vehemently opposed the plea, saying allowing the petitioners’ contention would cause havoc in the realm of personal laws. It also maintained the subject can be handled by the legislature only, due to its massive repercussions.

The central government also claimed among all states, seven have responded to its query on the issue of same-sex marriage. Of these, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Assam have opposed the petitioners’ contention seeking legal sanction for such marriages.

The petitioners, on their part, argued that all they wanted was a legal recognition for same-sex marriage and asked the court to reinterpret the provisions of the Special Marriage Act (SMA) 1954.

They said Section 4(c) of the Act recognises marriage only between a ‘male’ and a ‘female’. This discriminates against same-sex couples by denying them matrimonial benefits such as adoption, surrogacy, employment and retirement benefits. The petitioners asked the court to declare Section 4(c) of the Act as unconstitutional.

The petitioners argued that the non-recognition of same-sex marriage violated the rights to equality, freedom of expression and dignity. They said that same-sex marriages can be accorded legal recognition under the SMA to grant dignity to their unions. It also said that this court should also pass appropriate directions for the community’s access to social security and other welfare benefits.

(Published 16 October 2023, 12:47 IST)

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