Indian Apex Court Maintains Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Indian Apex Court Maintains Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

New Delhi - India's highest court, on Tuesday, opted not to legalize same-sex marriage and deferred the decision to parliament. This decision aligns with the stance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which believes that the legislature should be responsible for addressing this contentious issue.

The unanimous verdict by a five-judge bench was met with disappointment among India's substantial LGBTQ community, occurring five years after the court's landmark decision to overturn a colonial-era ban on gay sex.

The government has not issued an immediate response to the court's ruling, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) administration, led by Modi, had opposed the petitions submitted to the court, contending that same-sex marriage does not align with the traditional Indian family structure of a husband, wife, and children.

The court's decision was in response to over a dozen petitions filed since the previous year. The bench, led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, held hearings in April and May and delivered its verdict on Tuesday.

Chandrachud acknowledged that there was both agreement and disagreement regarding the extent to which same-sex marriage should be permitted. He revealed that four out of the five judges presented separate judgments, highlighting the complexity of the case.

Chandrachud emphasized that the court's role is to interpret and enforce existing laws, not create new ones. He also dismissed the government's argument that being gay is associated with urban or elite lifestyles.

The court entrusted a government-recommended panel with addressing the "human concerns" of same-sex couples. This panel is expected to include experts well-versed in the social, psychological, and emotional needs of the LGBTQ community. It will also explore granting same-sex couples access to services and facilities currently unavailable to them, such as joint bank accounts and pensions.

Justice Chandrachud and one other judge proposed recognizing unions or civil unions for same-sex couples, though the remaining three judges did not concur. One of these judges, Ravindra Bhat, argued that "marriage is a social institution" and that marital status is not conferred by the state. He stated that the concept of marriage is not a fundamental right.

Members of the LGBTQ community were seen leaving the court in tears after the ruling, with some offering solace to one another.

One petitioner in the case, Uday Raj Anand, expressed his disappointment with the outcome, stating that he had hoped the court would at least instruct the government to address the issue, even if it couldn't change the law.
News Courtesy Reuters

The comments posted here are not from Cnews Live. Kindly refrain from using derogatory, personal, or obscene words in your comments.