A day after the Centre opposed the Supreme Court’s legal validation of same-sex marriage, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said the government does not “disturb” the personal freedom and activities of individuals but the issue related to the institution of marriage is a matter of policy.
Responding to a question on the Centre’s stand in the top court, Rijiju said, “The government is not interfering in the personal life, personal activities of anybody. So there should be no confusion. When it comes to an issue related to the institution of marriage, then it is a matter of policy.”
“Personal freedom and personal activities of individuals, of the citizens are never being disturbed, regulated, questioned by the government. You must be very clear about it. There is a clear distinction,” he told reporters outside the Parliament House.
SC on same-sex marriage
The Centre has opposed in the Supreme Court a batch of pleas seeking legal validation of same-sex marriage, saying it would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws and accepted societal values.
Despite the decriminalisation of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the petitioners cannot claim a fundamental right for same-sex marriage to be recognised under the laws of the country, it said.
State does not recognise non-heterosexual forms
In its affidavit, the Centre said the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognised nor accepted in any uncodified personal laws or any codified statutory laws. The State does not recognise non-heterosexual forms of marriages or unions or personal understandings of relationships between individuals in society but the same are not unlawful, it said.
Later on Monday, the Supreme Court referred the pleas seeking legal validation of same-sex marriages to a five-judge constitution bench for adjudication, saying the issue is of “seminal importance”. A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said the submissions on the issue involve an interplay between constitutional rights on the one hand and special legislative enactments, including the Special Marriage Act, on the other.
Also Read: Same sex marriage: 5-judge SC bench to start hearing from April 18