SC notice on two gay marriages

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the Attorney General of India on two PILs on gay marriages under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, returnable in four weeks.

The first PIL was filed by Supriyo Chakraborty and Abhay Dang, a couple for almost 10 years and they had a commitment ceremony in December 2021 that was blessed by their parents and family and now they want their marriage recognised under the Special Marriage Act.

The second PIL is filed by Parth Phiroze Mehrotra and Uday Raj Anand, who have been in a relationship for the past 17 years. They claim raising two children trogether. Since they cannot legally solemnise their marriage, it has resulted in a situation of their legal relationship of parent with their children.

Their plea points that Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, though permits any two persons to solemnise a marriage, the subsequent conditions in sub-section (C), thereby restrict its application only to males and females. They want the legislation be made gender neutral.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud entertained the petitions filed by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi as a sequel to Navtej Singh Johar and the Puttaswamy judgments. This is a living issue, not property issue. Impact is on health and succession, he argued.

Significantly, nine petitions are pending before the Delhi High Court and the Kerala High Court seeking recognition of same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act, Foreign Marriage Act and the Hindu Marriage Act.

Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the petitioners, told the bench about the Centre’s statement before the Kerala High Court that it was taking steps to transfer all cases to the Supreme Court. He said issue affects basic rights like gratuity, adoption, surrogacy of same-sex couples. “Even the opening of joint accounts,” he pleaded. Advocate Menaka Guruswamy and Saurabh Kripal also appeared for the petitioners.

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