Delhi HC to hear Petition seeking Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage under Hindu Marriage Act today

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A PIL has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking recognition of same-sex marriage and couples under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The petition has been filed by Gopi Shankar Madurai, an intersex activist from Tamil Nadu, Abhijit Iyer Mitra, a gay man and and a commentator on national security issues, Giti Thandani, founder member of Sakhi Collective Journal of contemporary and historical lesbian life in India and G. Oorvasi, a transgender activist.

In January this year, a similar petition for recognition of same-sex marriages under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 had been filed in the Kerala High Court by Sonu and Nikesh, a gay couple from Thrissur.

The current PIL states that Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act does not distinguish between a homosexual and heterosexual couple, and hence homosexual couples should also be recognised under the Act. “That it is further 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 Delhi.”

The petition says that denial of the right to marry encroaches upon the fundamental rights of LGBT and that the Right to Marry is a part of the Right to Life under Article 21 of The Constitution of India. “That Right to Marry is also stated under Human Rights Charter within the meaning of the right to start a family. The Right to Marry is a universal right and it is available to everyone irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The petition will be heard by Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.

Sukhdeep Singh