- Apprentice Lawyer
The Delhi High Court on Friday granted one last opportunity to the Central government to file their response to petitions seeking the recognition of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act (Abhijit Iyer Mitra & ors vs UOI, Dr Kavita Arora & anr vs UOI, Vaibhav Jain & Anr vs UOI).
A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Sanjeev Narula also granted time to Delhi government to file its counter affidavit.
Central government sought three weeks' time to file its response.
While allowing the petitioners to file their rejoinder to the stand taken by the governments, the Court suggested that the counsel only submit written submissions in the matter.
"Would you require much time to argue? So much has been written on the issue," the Court remarked.
Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy, who has been appearing in petitions concerning Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act, insisted on oral submissions.
Advocate Raghav Awasthi, counsel in Hindu Marriage Act petition, said that written submissions could also be given.
The matter would be heard next on February 25.
Petition with respect to Hindu Marriage Act has been preferred by Abhijit Iyer Mitra, Gopi Shankar M, Giti Thadani and G Oorvasi.
They have submitted that right to marry is part of Article 21 of the Constitution of India pointing out that the Hindu Marriage Act speaks of solemnization of marriage between “any two Hindus”. Therefore, denying recognition to same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act is arbitrary, it has been contended.
Petition with respect to the Special Marriage Act is by Dr Kavita Arora and her partner, Ankita Khanna, while the petitioners in Foreign Marriage Act matter are Vaibhav Jain and his partner, Parag Vijay Mehta.
It is their argument that non-recognition of same-sex marriages under Special Marriage Act and Foreign Marriage Act is a wanton act of discrimination which strikes at the root of dignity and self-fulfilment of LGBTQ couples, it is argued.
The petitioners have submitted that denying recognition to same-sex couples amounts to violation of Articles, 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.