Synopsis: In the plea requesting recognition of same-sex marriages under the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act, a notice was released earlier, whereby the Court clubbed all the proceedings today.
The Delhi High Court today, issued a notice in the PIL, asking for the Hindu Marriage Act to recognise same-sex marriages. The PIL has also been clubbed with an allied petition seeking to interpret the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act to also extend to same-sex couples’ marriages.
Abhjit Iyer Mitra, Gopi Shankar M, Giti Thadani and G Oorvasi moved the PIL to request a declaration to recognise the right of same-sex couples to marry under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956.
It was expected that the Bench of Justices RS Endlaw and Asha Menon will hear the case today, noting that the Court had previously given notices on a similar issue.
The Court has also agreed to hear the two matters together and has ordered that in the present case, the counter affidavit be lodged within 4 weeks and that the rejoinder be lodged within 4 weeks afterwards, thus setting out all matters to be heard together.
Advocate Ragav Awasthi, appearing for the petitioners, argued that the language used in the Hindu Marriage Act is gender neutral and the same would also extend to same-sex marriages.
In relation to the Foreign Marriage Act, similar submissions were made, i.e., it does not differentiate between homosexual and heterosexual couples.
On January 8, 2021, when the earlier petition was submitted before the same Bench of Justices Endlaw and Menon, the matter is expected to be taken up next.
The PIL was previously been placed before the Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan concerning the recognition of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act.
At the last hearing, the Court ordered the petitioners to compile a list of those individuals aggrieved by the non-registration of same-sex marriages, and orally observed that they could come if there were any aggrieved persons, since the matter is not a PIL issue.
At the time, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta claimed that marriage, which is sacramental, between same-sex couples is not recognised by the Indian legal system and values.