On May 24, 2021, the Delhi High Court adjourned petitions to recognise same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act and Foreign Marriage Act till July 6. The Centre told the HC that there are more urgent matters that need consideration and that “nobody is dying because they don’t have a marriage certificate.”
“As a government, our focus in terms of urgency is on urgent, imminent issues,” submitted Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for Centre. On the other hand, Senior Advocate Saurabh Kirpal, representing a few petitioners, said that the government is supposed to be neutral, and it is on the court to determine what is urgent. Senior Advocate Dr Menaka Guruswamy, who also represents a few petitioners, told the court that there are 70 million LGBTQ people in this country.
The bench was headed by Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw. Mehta also raised the question of roster change to which the court asked the Centre to seek clarification regarding the question of the roster.
The hearing was in response to three petitions filed last year. In one, Dr Kavita Arora, a psychiatrist, and Ankita Khanna, a therapist, sought enforcement of the choice of partner, which is a fundamental right, after their application for solemnisation of marriage under the Special Marriage Act was rejected by a Marriage Officer in Delhi as they are a same-sex couple. In another petition, which was filed by Parag Vijay Mehta, an Overseas Citizen of India cardholder, and Vaibhav Jain, an Indian citizen, who got married in Washington DC in 2017. Their application for registration of marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act was rejected by the Consulate General of India at New York.
The third PIL was filed by Abhijit Iyer Mitra and three others for recognition of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act.
*All pictures are for representational purposes only.