Topic: GS2 – Indian polity
- The Supreme Court of India, in Supriyo Chakraborty, ruled that there is no fundamental right to marry, effectively prohibiting same-sex marriages.
Protection from Harassment:
- While denying same-sex marriage, the Court unanimously directed that same-sex couples be protected from harassment and passed various directions to sensitize authorities on LGBTQI issues.
- The legal battle for LGBTQI rights in India began with the challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized non-heterosexual relationships.
- The Delhi High Court initially read it down in Naz Foundation in 2009. Still, this decision was set aside by the Supreme Court in Suresh Kumar Koushal in 2013. However, it was ultimately upheld in Navtej Singh Johar in 2018, decriminalizing consensual adult same-sex relations.
Recognition of Gender and Rights:
- The Court, in the NALSA case, recognized the right of individuals to identify their own gender. This led to the passage of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, which allows individuals to change their gender identity and protects against discrimination.
The Call for Marriage Rights:
- In light of the decriminalization of same-sex relations, there was a growing demand within the LGBTQI community for the right to marry.
- Petitions were filed in various courts, leading to the Supreme Court’s consideration of the issue in Supriyo Chakraborty.
Human Rights and Marriage:
- The author argues that marriage should be considered a fundamental right, as it is a human right recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), to which India is a signatory.
- India’s legal framework and constitutional interpretation have been influenced by the UDHR and other international covenants.
Inequality and Discrimination:
- The Court’s decision to deny same-sex marriage perpetuates inequality and discrimination, stigmatizing LGBTQI communities and reducing them to second-class citizens.
- The author emphasizes the urgency of correcting the legal restrictions on same-sex marriages to promote a more inclusive and equal society.
Message to LGBTQI Community:
- The author encourages the LGBTQI community to continue their advocacy and legal challenges, emphasizing that setbacks are part of the journey toward justice and equality.
Question: Discuss the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the fundamental right to marry and the prohibition of same-sex marriages in the context of human rights and equality in India.