Parliament must debate on same-sex marriage before SC decision: Rijiju
Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju stated on Saturday the issue of same-sex marriage must be debated in the Parliament to come up with a law as it represents all parts of the country. He said that the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing the issue, could later change the statute if it finds the decision against the spirit of the Constitution.
Why does this story matter?
- Rijiju's comments come days after the Centre opposed the legal recognition of same-sex marriages in India in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court. A day later, the court referred the matter to a five-judge Constitution bench.
- India has roughly seven crore LGBTQ+ individuals, but the government has repeatedly opposed same-sex marriage registration even after the SC's 2018 judgment that decriminalized consensual gay sex.
Supreme Court open to alter law: Law Minister Kiren Rijiju
Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2023, Rijiju said same-sex marriages must be first debated in Parliament even though the Supreme Court has its own authority. "If any law passed by Parliament is not in the spirit of the Constitution, then the Supreme Court has the option to alter that thing or pass another judgment or refer it back to Parliament," he added.
Leave it to people's wisdom: Rijiju
"I leave it [same-sex marriage] to the wisdom of the people of the country who reflect the thinking of the country," Rijiu further said. "It is the Parliament. People sitting in Parliament cover all parts of the country," he added.
Watch: Rijiju speaking at India Today Conclave
Here's what Union law minister @KirenRijiju said about same-sex marriage being transferred to a five-bench judge.— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) March 18, 2023
Watch live: https://t.co/gt0Lp9vMqS#IndiaTodayConclave #Conclave23 @gauravcsawant pic.twitter.com/8mok81OzgM
Petitions on same-sex marriage with Constitution bench for final verdict
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud on Monday referred petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage to a five-judge Constitution bench, saying the decision "will have a huge bearing on society." "It would be appropriate if the issues raised are resolved by the bench of five judges...with due regard to A 145(3) of the Constitution," the bench said.
Government opposed to legal validation of same-sex marriages
In its affidavit before the Supreme Court on March 12, the Centre said that same-sex marriage registration would be a breach of the country's existing personal and codified laws. It asked the court to dismiss challenges to the current legal system, arguing that same-sex relationships do not conform to the notion of the "Indian family unit."