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 case on February 3 next year.
Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the applicants, said the issue raised in the petitions was of national importance, in particular with respect to the LGBTQ community, which constitutes nearly 8 per cent of the total population of the country.
He sought live-streaming of the court proceedings in the matter, as a good section of the public were 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-streamed the proceedings.
The court also issued notice to the Centre on additional petitions on the issue. One of the petition was filed by two women who have already solemnised their marriage abroad and wanted recognition in India. The other petition was filed by a transgender, who has undergone a sex reassignment surgery.
In July, the court issued notice to the Central government on another petition seeking legal recognition of all same-sex, queer or non-heterosexual marriages under the Foreign Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act.
The petition was filed by a married same-sex couple where one of them is an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holder and his partner is a U.S. citizen.
The court had then tagged the petition to be heard collectively with four 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.
Earlier, the Centre had opposed any changes to the existing laws on marriage to recognize 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.