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Delhi HC permits marriage only between biological man & woman

The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that marriage only between a “biological man” and a “biological woman” was permissible under Indian laws, Bar and Bench reported. The court was hearing a clutch of pleas seeking legal recognition of same sex marriages. The Centre has opposed the pleas, saying a marriage in India can be recognised only if it is between a “biological man” and a “biological woman” capable of producing children.

Decriminalizing homosexuality has nothing to do with same-sex marriages. “The law is settled, either with or without the Navtej Johar case (a reference to the judgment decriminalizing homosexuality). The law is settled, personal laws are settled and marriage, which is contemplated, is between a biological man and biological woman,” solicitor general Tushar Mehta told a bench of chief justice DN Patel and justice Jyoti Singh.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing a batch of petitions seeking recognition of same-sex marriage in India. Representing the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted the decriminalisation of homosexuality under Section 377 of the IPC would not be relevant in this case as the provision did not deal with marriage.

Section 7 A (1) (d) of the Citizenship Act does not distinguish between heterosexual, same-sex or queer spouses, she said. It provides that a person married to an OCI, whose marriage is registered and subsisting for two years, should be declared eligible to apply as a spouse for an OCI card.

The petitioners, through advocate Karuna Nundy, said all same-sex or queer marriages should be legally recognized in India under the applicable statutes, rules and policies that are in force. They seek recognition of same-sex marriage under various laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, Citizenship Act, Foreign Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act. The government is yet to respond on this aspect, said Nundy.

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