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CJI Chandrachud stands by minority judgement on queer couples, says ‘it’s sometimes a vote of conscience’

A five-judge bench recently delivered a 3-2 judgement on the batch of petitions seeking to legalise same-sex marriage and left it to the Parliament to take a decision on the matter. The court decided not to interfere with the Special Marriage Act.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 Washington Published on: October 24, 2023 10:58 IST
CJI, DY Chandrachud, Supreme Court, Same-sex marriage
Image Source : PTI CJI DY Chandrachud

Washington, DC: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud referred to the recent Supreme Court judgement on the same-sex marriage by a five-judge bench, and said that he stands by his minority stance in favour of civil unions of queer couples as it is “sometimes a vote of conscience and a vote of the Constitution”. The CJI was speaking at the third Comparative Constitutional Law discussion on the topic 'Perspectives from the Supreme Courts of India and the United States'. The event was hosted by Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

"I do believe it is sometimes a vote of conscience and a vote of the Constitution. And I stand by what I said," he said.

The Supreme Court recently delivered its 3-2 verdict on a batch of petitions seeking legal sanction of same-sex marriage and decided against interfering with the Special Marriage Act. The bench left it to the Parliament to take a decision on the matter of granting marriage equality to queer couples.

What did CJI say on the matter?

The CJI reiterated his minority decision of giving rights to association while the majority of his colleagues on the bench felt that recognising a right to form unions was beyond the traditional domain and that it must be left to Parliament.

He said that the majority of judges on the bench did not support his conclusion of adoption of rights for queer couples.

Citing 13 instances where he was in the minority while delivering a judgement, CJI Chandrachud said that the bench concluded that legislating on the right to marry for queer community falls in the Parliament’s domain.

"By the unanimous verdict of all the five judges on the bench, we came to the conclusion that while we have progressed a great deal in terms of decriminalising homosexuality and recognising people belonging to the queer community as equal participants in our society, legislating on the right to marry is something that falls within the domain of Parliament," the CJI said.

“But three of my colleagues felt that recognising a right to form unions was again beyond the traditional domain and that it must be left to Parliament,” he explained on differing with the other three judges on the bench on the issue.

He added that three of his colleagues also felt that the absence of recognition of the right to adopt by queer unions was discriminatory but that is something that had to be addressed by Parliament.

(With ANI inputs)

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