New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday indicated its desire to delink from the same-sex marriage issue those petitions which challenge validity of the Special Marriage Act mandating a 30-day notice to be given to Registrar of Marriages by couples intending to marry.
A 5-J bench headed by CJI D Y Chandrachud, which has heard arguments for six days on petitions demanding legal validation of same sex marriages, said, “It is not a 5-J bench issue. It is not an issue which is Sui Generic to the issue relating to legalisation of same-sex marriage issue. A hetero- sexual couple, at present, has to give 30 days notice and have people raise objections.”
“This has absolutely no link with the issue of whether same sex couples have a right to marry. It is a simple issue which can be decided by a two or three judge bench,” the CJI said. Senior advocates Raju Ramayandran and Anand Grover pro- tested saying it will be corollary if the SC legalises same sex marriages. “It is a cost- tuitional issue,” they said.
The CJI said, “It is an important social issue but not necessarily a constitutional issue for a five-judge bench.” Justice SR Bhat said, “Even Shreya Singhal involving rights under Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and ex- pression) was not by a 5-J bench. Every issue cannot be elevated to the level for ad- judication by a constitution bench.”
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said he had flagged the CJI’s view at the commencement of the hearing on the batch of petitions and requested the court to segregate them for separate hear- in.
To continue with the hearing on the main issue – same sex marriage, the bench told Ramachandran and Grover that it would hear them at the end of proceedings on the issue of de- linking the challenge to 30- day notice period provision under the SM Act.