Representational image Credit: Representational Image

Guwahati: The Solicitor General of India on Monday told the Delhi High Court that “our laws, legal system, society and our values” do not recognise same-sex marriages and hence it is “not permissible”.

Representing the state, SG Tushar Mehta made the submission before the high court in a hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking recognition of same-sex marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA),1956

“The Right to Marry is also stated under the Human Rights Charter, within the meaning of the right to start a family,” stated the plea. “The Right to Marry is universal and it is available to everyone irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Ths SG opposed the plea by arguing that, “our laws, our legal system, our society and our values do not recognise a marriage, which is a sacrament, between same-sex couples”.

“As per law, a marriage is only between a husband and a wife,” added Mehta citing that the Hindu Marriage Act (the Act) itself did not recognise same-sex marriages.

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The Delhi High Court bench comprising Justice DN Pathak and Justice Prateek Jalan stated in the court that such a petition has to be perceived with an open mind. Keeping in mind the law of the land, however, changes have been happening across the world, observed the bench.

The SG asserted that the plea can be refuted in two ways; at first the petition is requesting the court to legislate and secondly, any relief granted would go against the current statutes regulating marriages in India.

“Unless court does violence to various laws, this cannot be done,” he added.

The petitioners were advised by the court to first try to get their marriages registered and if they are denied, they could approach the court with their complaint.

The bench further questioned why should the petition be entertained.

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The counsel on behalf of the petitioners informed the court that many same-sex marriages were denied registration but are reluctant to come forward fearing retribution.

The court has directed the lawyer representing the petitioners to submit details of the person who were not permitted to register their marriages on the next date of hearing and posted the matter to be considered again on October 21.

The petition has contended that the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 permits marriage between any ‘two Hindus’ and states of no discrimination between heterosexuals and homosexuals. It was further added that in-spite of the Supreme Court decriminalizing consensual homosexual acts, marriages between same-sex couples is still not recognised.

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