The Centre today opposed a plea filed before the Delhi High Court seeking recognition and registration of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta before the division bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan submitted that such registration is not permissible as the prayer, if granted, would run contrary to the statutory provisions already in place.
“Our law, society, values don’t recognise marriage – which is a sacrament – between a same-sex couple,” submitted Mehta in the Delhi High Court, adding that one has to a man and a woman for a marriage to not fall within degrees of the prohibited relationship under the Hindu Marriage Act.
“As per law, a marriage is only between a husband and a wife”, argued Mehta to urge that the Hindu Marriage Act (the Act) itself did not recognize same-sex marriages.
Mehta also submitted that the judgment of the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court “merely decriminalizes homosexuality or lesbians. Nothing more, nothing less”.
The counsel representing petitioner Abhijit Iyer Mitra and others earlier submitted that such marriages were not being registered in absence of any declaration. It was argued that the Supreme Court has already ruled that there is no legal bar on homosexual relationships. The denial of registration is violative of the right to equality and right to life, it was argued.
Acknowledging that though the position of law might be different, the Bench stated that “changes are happening across the world.”
The Court went on to suggest that the petitioners, who are activists and members of the LGBTQ community, could first try and get their marriage registered and if in case they were denied, they could approach the Court with their grievance.
Appearing on behalf of the petitioners, Advocate Raghav Awasthi informed Court that there have been instances of gay couples getting married but being refused registration.
The Court thus asked the petitioners to bring on record all those persons who are aggrieved by the non-registration of same-sex marriages on the next date of hearing and posted the matter to be considered again on October 21.
The petition filed on behalf of activists and members of the LGBTQ community avers that the Hindu Marriage Act (the Act) allows a marriage to take place between ‘any two Hindus’, without discriminating between homosexuals and heterosexuals.
The court on Monday adjourned the case to October while asking petitioner counsel to bring on record the facts or instances where persons are aggrieved of non-registration of such marriage.