30 Nov 2021 7:51 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court today issued notice on an application seeking live streaming of proceedings in the case concerning recognition and registration of same-sex marriages in the country.The bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on being beseeched that the matter is of "national and constitutional importance".Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul argued that...
The Delhi High Court today issued notice on an application seeking live streaming of proceedings in the case concerning recognition and registration of same-sex marriages in the country.
The bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on being beseeched that the matter is of "national and constitutional importance".
Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul argued that a substantial number of people (about 7-8% population of country) are interested in the proceedings and outcome of this matter. However, they are unable to witness the proceedings due to space constraint in Courtrooms and limitation of technical platforms like Cisco Webex, which is currently being used by the High Court for hybrid functioning.
He therefore sought live streaming of proceedings on YouTube or any other suitable platform.
"Millions of citizens will be keen to watch these proceedings from different nooks and corners of the globe. Providing sufficient links may not be a feasible option and bandwidth constraints will most certainly arise. In that scenario, live streaming of the proceedings will provide a more stable platform with wider reach," the plea stated.
Reliance was place on the case of Swapnil Tripathi whereby the Supreme Court had approved the concept of live streaming, remarking that "sunlight is the best disinfectant."
Kaul also cited examples of the High Courts of Gujarat, Orissa and Karnataka, that have formulated rules for live-streaming of court proceedings.
The development comes in an application filed by three professionals based out of Mumbai and Karnataka, in the petition filed by Abhijit Iyer Mitra seeking registration of marriages of LGBTQIA couples under the Hindu Marriage Act.
They argued, "the right of an interested person to attend court proceedings has been held to be an essential facet of 'open justice'."
The plea adds,
"the issue at hand before this Hon'ble Curt is of such magnitude and ramification, that live streaming of the said proceedings shall not only have a larger outreach but also help in spreading awareness among the citizens with regard to correct position of law."
Significantly, the High Court has also issued notices on two related petitions, one seeking recognition of the marriage of a Transgender person and another seeking recognition of marriage of a lesbian couple.
The pleas will now be heard alongwith connected petitions on February 3.
About other pleas
The High Court is also seized with a petition filed by Abhijit Iyer Mitra seeking registration of marriages of LGBTQIA couples under the Hindu Marriage Act. It is argued that the language used in the Hindu Marriage Act is gender-neutral, and it doesn't explicitly prohibit the marriages of same sex couples.
In another plea filed by Dr. Kavita Arora, a direction is sought to be issued to the Marriage Officer, South East Delhi, to solemnize her marriage with her partner under the Special Marriage Act. it is her case that the fundamental right to choose one's own partner for marriage under Article 21 of the Constitution extends to same-sex couples as well.
The plea moved by Joydeep Sengupta, an OCI card holder, and his partner Russell Blaine Stephens prays for a declaration from the Court that "a spouse of foreign origin of an Indian Citizen or OCI cardholder is entitled to apply for registration as an OCI under the Citizenship Act regardless of the gender, sex or sexual orientation of the applicant spouse."
The plea reasons that since S. 7A(1)(d) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, does not distinguish between heterosexual, same-sex or queer spouses, a person married to an Overseas Citizen of India, whose marriage is registered and subsisting for two years, should be declared eligible to apply as a spouse for an OCI card.