SC refuses to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriage, leaves it to Parliament

Supreme Court of India.

New Delhi: A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriages, PTI reported.

Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, who was heading the bench pronouncing its verdict on 21 pleas seeking legal validation for same-sex marriages, said the court can’t make law but only interpret it and it is for Parliament to change the Special Marriage Act.

At the outset, Justice Chandrachud said there are four judgments — by himself, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat and P S Narasimha — in the matter. Justice Hima Kohli is also a part of the five-judge bench.

Directing the GoI, states and Union Territories (UTs) to ensure the queer community is not discriminated against, the CJI, who is heading the constitution bench, said queer is a natural phenomenon known for ages and is neither urban nor elitist.

“Non-heterosexual and heterosexual unions must be seen as both sides of the same coin,” he said, adding that legal recognition of non-heterosexual unions is a step towards marriage equality, as reported by PTI.

Justice Bhat, who read out the operative portion of his verdict, said he agrees and differs with the views of the CJI on certain points.

Delivering his verdict on the critical issue, the CJI said it is for Parliament to decide whether there is a need for a change in the regime of the Special Marriage Act.

“This court can’t make law. It can only interpret it and give effect to it,” he was quoted as saying.

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