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Same sex marriage verdict: CJI says Parliament needs to effect changes in law; directs Centre to act against discrimination

Same sex marriage verdict: CJI says Parliament needs to effect changes in law; directs Centre to act against discrimination
  • The bench has confined the case to the Special Marriage Act 1954.
  • CJI says cohabitation cannot be the basis for discriminated against queer couples.
  • Union, state and UT govts instructed to ensure that community is not discriminated against.


A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has left it to the Parliament to decide on the same sex marriage issue. Explaining the judgement, the CJI said that the SC cannot strike down the provisions of the Special Marriage Act (SMA) or read words differently. The verdict pronounced was on the 21 pleas seeking legal validation for same-sex marriage.

"There are four separate judgements in the matter," the CJI said and started reading out operative portion of his verdict. It is noteworthy that four separate verdicts will be pronounced by the bench.

The five-judge constitution bench comprises the CJI and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha. Besides the CJI, Justice Kaul, Justice Bhat and Justice Narasimha have penned separate verdicts.

The bench has confined the case to the Special Marriage Act 1954.

What the CJI said

This court can't make law and it can only interpret it and give effect to it, said Chandrachud, adding "homosexuality or queerness is not an urban concept or restricted to upper class of society".

"Whether there is need for change in regime of Special Marriage Act is for the Parliament to decide," he added.

The CJI also said cohabitation cannot be the basis for discriminated against queer couples.

Directions to the government

The Chief Justice of India has directs the Centre to ensure queer community is not discriminated against. The governments 9Union, State and UTs) need to also ensure there is no discrimination in access to goods and services.

The CJI also asked the government to sensitise the public about queer rights and Create a hotline for the queer community.

The Centre has also been instructed to set up a committee under Cabinet Secretary, which will include experts, and shall undertake wide consultations.

The committee shall consider -

  1. Enabling queer persons into a common entity for ration cards
  2. For purposes of joint accounts
  3. For last rites
  4. For succession, pension

The apex court has also asked the government to create safe houses or 'Garima grih' for queer couples.

It has also asked to ensure inter-sex children are not forced to undergo operations or that no person shall be forced to undergo any hormonal therapy.

Moreover, the guidelines have been issued to police to not harass queer people or force them to return to their natal families.


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