A 5-member constitutional bench, headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, has rejected by 3-2 majority the right of same-sex couple to enter into wedlock.
The majority decision is in sharp contrast to the views expressed by the CJI and supported by Justice Kaul, both of whom had upheld the right of queer couple to the institutionalised system of marriage.
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud today said an individual’s right to enter into a union cannot be restricted on the basis of sexual orientation.
Underlining that the five-judge bench hearing the matter has authored four separate judgments, the Chief Justice asked the Centre to proceed with a committee it has formed to address practical concerns of same-sex couples, such as getting ration cards, pension, gratuity and succession issues.
The Centre had on May 3 told the court that it plans to form a committee headed by a cabinet secretary to explore administrative solution to problems faced by same-sex couples without delving into the marriage equality question.
Choosing a life partner is an integral part of choosing one’s course of life, the Chief Justice said. “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,” he said.
“The right to enter into union includes the right to choose one’s partner and the right to recognition of that union. A failure to recognise such associations will result in discrimination against queer couples,” the Chief Justice said, adding, “the right to enter into union cannot be restricted on the basis of sexual orientation”.
Disagreeing with the centre’s argument that marriage equality is an urban, elite concept, the Chief Justice said, “Queerness is not urban elite. Homosexuality or queerness is not an urban concept or restricted to the upper classes of the society.”