Delhi HC denies center’s response to request for live streaming of same-sex marriage proceedings

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure over an affidavit by the center opposing calls for a live-stream trial of the case related to legalizing same-sex marriages in India. live right reported.

In the affidavit, the government had claimed that the petitioner’s request was made with the sole intention of creating a “hallucination of public interest” in the case and making the matter even more sensational.

“The complainant’s intention appears to be misplaced as he seeks to gain unnecessary publicity and attract unwanted public attention,” the Department of Justice and Justice affidavit said The Indian Express. “Every matter that comes to court is important and live streaming of every matter may not be feasible and possible.”

Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, representing the petitioners, argued that the government could object to the request for a live stream trial, but the language used in the affidavit was derogatory, live right reported.

“I am concerned that the Indian government is using words like sympathy, hallucination, you are sensationalist,” Kaul said, according to the court The Indian Express. “You may agree or disagree with the live streaming, but please do not trivialize and demean the people who fought for years until the Constitutional Bank of the Apex Court recognized their rights.”

A departmental bench consisting of acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla refused to accept the affidavit, urging the government to come up with a better answer.

“Have you read the affidavit?” The bank asked the government lawyer. “We advise you not to have it on file and look at it again. That is not right. Your affidavit should not come from the Ministry and you submit it without reading it. As a lawyer, it is your responsibility to read it and say there is something objectionable.”

The judges added: “You [counsel] are under no obligation to comply. You should be able to advise your customer [Centre] corresponding. Don’t do a pointless exercise with it.”

The attorney then assured the board that a “better” answer would be filed the next day of the hearing.

The court will next consider the matter on August 20.

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The Petitions

The Delhi High Court is dealing with at least eight petitions to legalize same-sex marriages under various statutes and fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.

The petitions were filed by Abhijit Iyer Mitra, Vaibhav Jain, Kavita Arora, Joydeep Sengupta, an Overseas Citizen of India card holder, and his partner Russell Blaine Stephens.

They seek recognition of same-sex marriages under various laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriages Act, and the Foreign Marriage Act.

In his plea, Mitra argued that the language used in Hindu marriage law was gender-neutral and did not specifically prohibit same-sex marriage.

Arora has sought guidance from the South East Delhi Marriage Officer to celebrate her marriage under the Special Marriage Act. She has argued that the freedom to choose a partner guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution extends to same-sex marriage.

Sengupta and Stephens contended that the Citizenship Act made no distinction between heterosexual or same-sex persons married to a foreign citizen of India.

The Center has consistently opposed the pleas in law before the Delhi High Court. During previous hearings of the petitions, the government argued that same-sex marriage was not part of “Indian culture or law” and that such relationships could not be compared to an “Indian family unit”.

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