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Five-judge bench led by CJI to hear pleas seeking recognition of same-sex marriage

New Delhi: The Supreme Court notified a five-judge Constitution bench to hear a batch of pleas seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage from April 18.
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha will hear the various petitions from April 18. On March 13, a three-judge bench headed by CJI Chandrachud referred the matter to a constitution bench. The bench stated, "Having due regard to the broader context of the petitions before this Court and the inter-relationship between the statutory regime and constitutional rights, we are of the considered view that it would be appropriate if the issues raised are resolved by a Bench of five Judges of this Court in view of the provisions of Article 145(3) of the Constitution."
In the batch of petitions, various petitioners have sought recognition of the right of couples of the same gender to marry.
One of the issues raised before the court relates to the rights of transgender couples to marry, as a natural incident of their constitutional entitlements.
Earlier, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, an Islamic religious body moved an intervening application in Supreme Court in the matter pertaining to legal recognition of same-sex marriage, saying that as per the legal regime in the country, marriage is only between a biological man and a biological woman. Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has supported the submission of the Centre on this issue.
The Centre, in its affidavit filed earlier, had opposed the plea seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage, saying that living together as partners by same-sex individuals, which is decriminalised now, is not comparable with the Indian family unit and they are clearly distinct classes which cannot be treated identically.
Same-sex relationships and heterosexual relationships are clearly distinct classes which cannot be treated identically, the government said as its stand against the petition seeking legal recognition of LGBTQ marriage.
It is for the legislature to judge and enforce such societal morality and public acceptance based upon Indian ethos, the centre said in its affidavit and added that Western decisions sans any basis in Indian constitutional law jurisprudence, cannot be imported in this context.
In the affidavit, the Centre apprised the apex court that living together as partners by same-sex individuals, decriminalised now, is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children.
Various petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act and other laws are currently before the Supreme Court.
One of the petitions earlier raised the absence of a legal framework, which allowed members of the LGBTQ+ community to marry any person of their choice.
According to the earlier petition, the couple sought to enforce the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to marry any person of their choice. It said "the exercise of which ought to be insulated from the disdain of legislative and popular majorities".
The petitioners, further, asserted their fundamental right to marry each other and prayed for appropriate directions from this Court allowing and enabling them to do so. (ANI)

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