Final arguments over granting legal recognition to same-sex marriages in India will be heard on April 18 by a five-judge Constitution bench, the Supreme Court said today. Any decision on the subject would have a huge bearing on society, the Supreme Court said, calling it “a matter of seminal importance”.
The hearing will be live-streamed on the Supreme Court website and YouTube.
“This judgment will have a huge bearing on society – don’t cut down anyone’s time and this must be considered,” a three-judge bench said.
“We are of the view that it would be appropriate if the issues raised are resolved by the bench of five judges of this court with due regard to A 145(3) of the Constitution. Thus, we direct it to be placed before a constitution bench,” the judges said.
The Centre had earlier argued that same-sex marriage is not compatible with the concept of an “Indian family unit”, which it said consists of “a husband, a wife, and children which necessarily presuppose a biological man as a ‘husband’, a biological woman as a ‘wife’ and the children born out of the union between the two – who are reared by the biological man as father and the biological woman as mother”.
The government said despite the decriminalisation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the petitioners cannot claim a fundamental right for same-sex marriage to be recognised under the laws of the country.
The Centre said living together as partners and having sexual relationship by same sex individuals (which is decriminalised now) is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept, urging the court to reject challenges to the current legal framework lodged by LGBTQ+ couples.
At least four gay couples in recent months have asked the court to recognise same-sex marriages.