The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Centre to keep an open mind as it heard a plea seeking to recognise the rights of same-sex couples to get married under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956.
A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said “changes are happening across the world” after the central government opposed the plea, claiming that same sex marriage is against Indian culture and values.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the government, also maintained that Hindu Marriage Act itself did not recognise same-sex marriages. "As per law, a marriage is only between a husband and a wife,” he said, Live Law reported.
"Our culture and law don't recognize the concept of same-sex marriages," Mehta argued, adding that the Supreme Court judgment on same-sex relations only decriminalised homosexuality and nothing more.
The petition, filed on behalf of activists and members of the LGBTQ community, contends that the Hindu Marriage Act (the Act) does not discriminate between homosexuals and heterosexuals, and does not mention anywhere that the 'two Hindus' getting married must be a man and a woman.
The plea states that despite there being no bar on same-sex marriages, they are not being registered throughout the country.
They argued that since the Supreme Court has already ruled that there is no legal bar on homosexual relationships, denial of registration is violative of the right to equality and right to life.
“Invoking Article 21 of the Constitution, it is stated that the Right to marry is an admitted aspect of the Right to life, and seeking that Right to be extended to couples of the same sex is neither radical nor complicated.”
The court asked the petitioners to inform how many such couples want to get the marriage registered with their names and had faced problems. It posted the matter to be considered again on October 21.