Wednesday, April 14, 2021
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Delhi High Court seeks Centre’s opinion on same sex marriage under Hindu Marriage Act

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New Delhi (ILNS): A Delhi High Court bench headed by Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw has sought a response from the Centre on a plea seeking registration of same sex marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act. Justice Asha Menon was also part of the bench that issued notice. The Centre has been given four weeks for its reply.

Petitioner Abhijit Iyer Mitra had filed a public interest litigation, saying that though the Supreme Court judgment in “Navtej Singh Johar V Union of India” had decriminalized homosexual sex, same sex marriage is still not being allowed under the provision of the Hindu Marriage Act. 

The petitioner is Defense Analyst and also a member of the LGBT community in India and he stated that there is nothing in the Hindu Marriage Act of 1956 that mandates that marriage should take place between a Hindu man and a Hindu woman. “Section 5 of the Act clearly lays down that marriage can be performed between any two Hindus under the Act,” said the plea. 

He submitted that despite the fact that there is absolutely no statutory bar under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the Special Marriage Act of 1956 against gay marriage, the same are not being registered throughout the country and also in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. As a result of this there are many benefits that would otherwise be available to heterosexual married couples that  are not available to them.

“The non-recognition of the rights of gay couples, especially when their sexuality has been recognised as such as valid by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is violative of various provisions of the Constitution of India as well as various conventions that India as a sovereign State is signatory to,” he said. 

“That the case for extending the same right of marriage to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons as those enjoyed by everyone else is neither radical nor complicated. It rests on two fundamental principles that underpin International Human Rights Law: ‘Equality and non-discrimination’. Further, the principle of universality admits no exception. Human rights truly are the birthright of all human beings. In addition to this, the opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are unequivocal: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’,” said the plea. 

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