The Supreme Court on Wednesday commenced its hearing on a bunch of at least 15 petitions regarding the legalisation of same-sex marriages.
The petitioners are requesting broader constitutional rights based on the right to life, the right to personal liberty, and other associated rights through their arguments. Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi is leading the petitioners, while SG Tushar Mehta is defending the central government. The government has repeatedly objected to the hearing on the grounds that recognition of marriages is a decision made by Parliament and has requested that the case not even be heard because only a biological man and a biological woman can enter into a valid wedlock.
The Centre has filed a new affidavit in several petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage, urging the Supreme Court to include states and union territories as parties in the case. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta apprised the top court about the Centre’s fresh affidavit. A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud begins hearing a batch of petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
CJI DY Chandrachud remarked that the Centre has now informed the state that the matter is going on. That’s excellent! So now it’s not that the states are unaware, the court said.
Centre apprised the SC that the Union of India, has issued a letter dated April 18 2023 to all States inviting comments and views on the seminal issue raised in the present batch of petitions.
Centre, in a fresh affidavit, submitted that the said issue goes to the root of the present matter and has far-reaching implications. The Centre requested that all States and Union Territories be made parties to the current proceedings and their respective stances be taken on record, or that the Union of India complete the consultative process with the States, obtain their views/apprehensions, compile the same, and place it on record before the Court, and only then adjudicate on the current issue. Despite this, the Centre stated in an affidavit that the States were not made a party to the current batch of petitions, unlike other occasions wherein for decisions on questions of seminal constitutional importance, particularly where legislative powers of the states are under the scrutiny of the Court. The Centre argued that any decision on the current issues without making States parties and specifically obtaining their opinion on the current issue would render the adversarial process incomplete and truncated.
In light of the foregoing, the Centre requested that this Court make all states parties to the current litigation and invite their respective positions on the aforementioned issue during the hearing on April 18.