Same-sex marriage: plea seeks live-streaming of proceedings

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Union Government to respond to a fresh application seeking permission to live-stream the court proceedings on a bunch of petitions for recognising same-sex marriages.

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, which is currently seized of five separate petitions of several same-sex couples, posted the hearing in the fresh plea to February 3 next year.

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for three new applicants — Akhilesh Godi, a gay software engineer and a gay couple said that the issue raised in the petitions was of national importance in particular with respect to the LGBTQ community, which constitutes nearly 8% of the total population of the country.

Better reach

He sought live-streaming of the court proceedings in the matter, as a good section of the public was eagerly looking forward to the outcome of these cases. Live-streaming would enable the court proceedings to reach a larger population. Some High Courts such as the High Court of Gujarat currently have an official YouTube channel where it live-streams the proceedings.

The fresh application filed through advocates Shyam D. Nandan and Siddhart Bambha, referred to the judgments delivered by the Supreme Court emphasising that there should be live-streaming of court proceedings in matters of constitutional and national importance, which has an impact on the public at large.

“The issue at hand before this court is of such magnitude and ramification that live-streaming of the said proceedings shall not only have a larger outreach but also help in spreading awareness among the citizens with regard to correct position of law,” the plea said.

The High Court also issued notices to the Centre on three additional new petitions by same-sex couples urging the court to recognise their marriages. With these pleas, the number of petitions on the issue before the High Court has now reached eight.

The court has tagged all the petitions to be heard collectively with other pending petitions on the issue of declaring the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act to apply to all couples regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.

Centre against change

Earlier, the Centre had opposed any changes to the existing laws on marriage to recognise same-sex marriage, saying such interference would cause ‘a complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country’.

“Living together as partners and having sexual relationship by same-sex individuals is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children which necessarily presuppose a biological man as a ‘husband’, a biological woman as a ‘wife’ and the children born out of the union between the two,” the Centre had argued.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 9:15:31 PM |

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