The Supreme Court on Tuesday began hearing arguments on a batch of pleas seeking legal validation of same-sex marriages, an issue that has wide societal ramifications and has sharply divided opinion.
The case is being heard by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices S K Kaul, S R Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha.
Terming it a “very seminal issue”, the Supreme Court on March 13 referred the pleas to a five-judge Constitution bench for adjudication. On Monday, the top court agreed to hear the Centre’s plea questioning the maintainability of the petitions seeking legal validation of same-sex marriage.
A bench headed by the CJI had taken note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who had mentioned the plea to decide the preliminary issue.
Describing the petitions seeking legal validation of same-sex marriage as one which reflect an “urban elitist” view for the purpose of social acceptance, the Centre told the apex court that recognition of marriage is essentially a legislative function which the courts should refrain from deciding on.
Questioning the maintainability of the petitions, the Centre has said legal validation for same-sex marriages will cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws and accepted societal values.
The hearing and the consequential outcome will have significant ramifications for the country where common people and political parties hold divergent views on the subject.
The apex court on November 25 last year had sought the Centre’s response to separate pleas moved by two gay couples seeking enforcement of their right to marry and a direction to the authorities concerned to register their marriages under the Special Marriage Act.