The Supreme Court of India Tuesday rejected an appeal seeking the legalisation of same-sex marriage across the country.
A group of Lesbian, Gay Bi-sexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) activists approached the top court a few months back seeking a declaration that the government’s failure to recognise same-sex unions amounts to a violation of LGBTQ people’s constitutional rights.
But the legal representatives of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi administration raised objection against the application, saying legalizing same-sex union will cause “havoc” against India’s historical and societal values.
“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,” the government told the court.
Ruling on the case, a five-man of the apex court led by Chief Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud declined the activists’ appeal, saying such legalisation remains the exclusive reserve of the legislative arm of government.
“The court, in the exercise of the power of judicial review, must steer clear of matters, particularly those impinging on policy, which fall in the legislative domain,” the judge ruled.
The court, however, advised the government to set up a panel that will look into the rights of same-sex people.
Chandrachud further held that the legislature and the executive should provide protection for all in line with their constitutional fundamental rights, irrespective of their sexual orientation.
“Choosing a life partner is an integral part of choosing one’s course of life.
“Some may regard this as the most important decision of their life. This right goes to the root of the right to life and liberty under Article 21 (of India’s constitution),” the judge held.