The Delhi High Court will hear on February 3 a plea opposing the registration of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act and seeking its registration either religion-neutral or under secular law. A bench presided over by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said it will hear the petition with similar matters while listing it for February 3.
Earlier, the bench was hearing a batch of pleas filed by persons belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community seeking a declaration of recognising same-sex marriages under the special Hindu and foreign marriage laws.
On Friday, in the intervention application filed by petitioner Sewa Nyay Utthan Foundation through Advocate Shashank Shekhar, it was submitted that such marriages should either be registered under secular law like Special Marriage Act or must be allowed under all religious laws such as the Muslim Marriage Law and Sikhs’ Anand Marriage Act.
It must be made religion-neutral, the petition contended.
The petitioner has filed objections to the registration of such marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act as this Act is directly derived from the Hindu dharmic texts such as Ved and Upanishads, where a marriage is defined as ‘allowed between a biological male and biological female only’.
The petitioners have stated no objection if such marriages are registered under the Acts other than the Hindu Marriage Act such as Special Marriage Act and Foreign Marriage Act. If it must be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, it must happen for all religions.
Before the court decided in favour of the same-sex marriages for Hindus, it must first consider the systems where the marriage is merely a ‘civil contract’ such as Nikah. The petitioners also stated that before allowing registration of the same-sex marriages for Hindus who have a more than 10,000-year history, it must begin with newer faiths such as Muslims (1,400 years old), Christians (2,000 years old), Parsi (2,500-year-old), it said.
On November 30, the HC had sought the response of the Centre on live-streaming of same-sex marriage proceedings in the country on a plea, in which a petitioner termed the recognition of the LGBT community that constitutes nearly eight per cent of the population, as a matter of national importance and live streaming can host a larger audience.
Notably, on October 25, the Centre had told the Delhi High Court that “marriage” is a term associated with heterosexual couples and “spouse” means husband and wife, as it contended that there is “some misconception” regarding the order in the Navtej Singh Johar case which decriminalised homosexual sex but does not talk about marriage.
Earlier, the Centre had also told the High Court that the acceptance of the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognised nor accepted in any uncodified personal laws or any codified statutory laws.