The Delhi High Court on Wednesday transferred to another bench and adjourned to November 19 a plea seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan transferred the matter to another bench, which is hearing similar pleas related to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage and listed it for hearing on November 19.
The court was hearing a public suit seeking a declaration to the effect that since Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1956 does not distinguish between homosexual and heterosexual couples, the right of same-sex couples to marry should be recognised under the said Act.
The public interest litigation (PIL), filed by advocates Raghav Awasthi and Mukesh Sharma, said that the petitioners have filed the petition for enforcement of their Fundamental Rights as granted under the Constitution of India.
The petition said that as of now, the law sees the members of the LGBT community as individuals only and not as couples. It also said that the LGBT community members are forced to suppress their feelings of getting married to the person of their own choice.
The plea raised the issue that denying the LGBT community the option to marry is absolutely discriminatory and creates them a second class of citizens. Homosexual couples should have access to the same benefits enjoyed by the heterosexual married couples, it said.
The petitioners further submitted that there is nothing in the Hindu Marriage Act that mandates that marriage should take place only between a Hindu man and a Hindu woman and Section 5 of the Act clearly lays down that marriage can be performed between 'any two Hindus'.
"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 the National Capital Territory of Delhi. As a result of the same, there are many benefits that would otherwise be available to heterosexual married couples that are not available to them," the plea said.
It said that the petition has been filed for the benefit of homosexual and transgender persons who constitute between five and ten per cent of the country's population.