Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Delhi High Court Monday, Same-sex marriages are neither a part of “our culture” nor a part of the law, opposing a petition demanding marriage rights for the gay community under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan was hearing a public interest litigation seeking a declaration to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956.
The court is hearing a PIL for same-sex marriage filed by four members of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and others) community — Abhijit Iyer Mitra, a security and foreign policy commentator, Gopi Shankar M, a Tamil Nadu-based intersex activist who contested the 2016 assembly elections, Giti Thadani, founding member of the Sakhi collective journal of contemporary and historical lesbian life in India, and G. Oorvasi, transgender activist.
The submission made by Mehta, one of the central government’s top lawyers, seeks to challenge the petitioners’ contention that the Hindu Marriage Act doesn’t distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual marriage since it doesn’t describe marriage as a union between man and woman, but only “two Hindus”.
What Petitioners are seeking cannot be granted for same-sex marriage , SG Mehta said as he claimed that the same would destroy the statutory provisions that are already in place.
SG Mehta clarified that it was his legal opinion and that he did not have instructions from Centre.
Referring to the section on degrees of prohibited relationships for same-sex marriage under Hindu Marriage Act, SG Mehta pointed out that the Act referred to marriage between a “man” and a “woman”.
“The Court may bear in mind that (the Supreme Court) only decriminalized homosexuality. Nothing more or less.”, he added.
Remarking that at the present stage, the primary issue was of the maintainability of the PIL, the Court questioned the counsel for the Petitioners, Advocate Raghav Awasthi if any homosexual couple had been denied registration of their marriage.
“If there are any aggrieved persons, they can come. No question of a PIL.“, the Court said.
While there were several persons who were denied marriage registration on the ground of being a homosexual couple, none of them wished to personally come before a court of law.
The Court deferred hearing in the PIL and directed the Petitioners to submit a list of persons who were aggrieved by non-registration of same-sex marriage under Hindu Marriage Act.