10 May 2023 12:38 PM GMT
Solicitor-General for India Tushar Mehta on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that only seven states had responded to central government’s April 18 letter inviting comments and views on the ‘seminal issues’ raised in the marriage equality petitions. A constitution bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli, and...
Solicitor-General for India Tushar Mehta on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that only seven states had responded to central government’s April 18 letter inviting comments and views on the ‘seminal issues’ raised in the marriage equality petitions.
A constitution bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli, and PS Narasimha was hearing a batch of pleas for the legal recognition of marriage between non-binary, non-heterosexual, or transgender persons.
The solicitor-general told the apex court today:
“At the outset, I had said that we have written letters to the state governments. We have received seven responses – from Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Sikkim, and Rajasthan. The state of Rajasthan has stated that they have examined the issue and are in opposition. All the rest have said that they need intense and expansive debate. We have received these. I will be placing them on the record.”
Last month, right at the outset, the Centre had urged the top court to implead all the states and union territories to the batch of pleas. Since marriage, divorce, adoption and all other allied subject-matters are contained in the Concurrent List (List III) of the Constitution’s Seventh Schedule – defining the overlap of the legislative remits of the union and state governments – consulting the states and union territories as well was necessary for the adjudication of the petitions, the bench was told. In an affidavit filed by the Union of India, it was submitted:
“Therefore, it is clear that the rights of the states, especially the right to the legislate on the subject, will be affected by any decision on the subject...various states have already legislated on the subject through delegated legislations, therefore making them a necessary and proper party to be heard in the present case.”
In view of the ‘far-reaching implications’ of the issues under debate, any decision arrived at without making states and union territories a party or without obtaining their opinion would render the adjudication ‘incomplete’ and ‘truncated’, the Centre had claimed. Thus, it appealed to the court to either implead the states and union territories, or allow it to finish a consultative process it had already begun with the states, obtain their views and apprehensions, and place them on record before the apex court.
However, the bench had refused to accept the Centre's request to defer the hearing in order to issue notices to the States. The bench said that the States are at liberty to join the proceedings.
Supriyo v. Union of India | Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1011 of 2022