"You don't need a marriage certificate for hospitals, because nobody is dying because they don't have a marriage certificate," the Union of India told the Delhi High Court today, arguing against the immediate hearing of a batch of pleas requesting approval of same-sex marriages in India under various personal laws.
The centre had filed a suit for adjournment, claiming that the court was only considering "highly urgent" cases at the time and objecting to the bench's roster. Taking this into consideration, the court has postponed the trial of the remaining pleas to a later date (July 6, 2021).
Sr. Adv. Saurabh Kirpal, representing one of the petitioners, argued that the urgency of the subject matter should be seen objectively and then determined by the court, while Sr. Adv. Menaka Guruswamy told the court that problems of admission to hospitals and medical care for them were also being experienced.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on the other hand, dismissed the requests, claiming that marriage certificates aren't needed for hospital admissions.
The Centre had previously informed the court in an affidavit challenging the petition requesting legalisation of same-sex marriages under different personal laws that "there is a "legitimate state interest" in restricting recognition of marriage to individuals of opposite sex only," and that "the institution of marriage is not simply a term restricted to the realm of an individual's privacy."
"The acceptance of the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognized nor accepted in any uncodified personal laws or any codified statutory laws", the affidavit filed had stated.
It was argued by the Centre that the observations in the Puttaswamy Judgment (Privacy Case) and the Navtej Johar case (which struck down Sec 377 IPC) do not confer a substantive right to claim approval of same-sex marriages.
Section 377 - Unnatural offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
The centre also stated that, contrary to common belief, the Supreme Court had not legalised homosexuality in the case of Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India "Just made a narrow declaration to legalise a certain human act that was previously a criminal offence under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The aforementioned statement was not meant to legitimise the actions in question, and it did not do so."