NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will consider if a review plea challenging the October 17 verdict, refusing to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriage, can be heard in an open court.
A petitioner in the case mentioned the review plea before a bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra.
“I have not examined the (review) petition. Let me circulate in (among the judges of the bench) and get all the administrative formalities completed,” the Chief Justice said in his brief order.
The review plea, mentioned on Thursday, was filed by one Udit Sood in the first week of November, assailing an earlier judgment of the apex court denying marriage between two people of the same sex. Sood is among the 21 petitioners in the matter.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, on behalf of the petitioner, told the court that the tentative date for listing of the case is November 28 and the same may not be deleted from the list. He also told the court that the petitioner has requested an open court hearing. “Lives of large numbers of people depend on this,’ Rohatgi contended.
Multiple petitions have been filed before the top court, including one filed by the lead petitioners in the matter, Supriya Chakravarty and Abhay Dang, seeking a review of the order in the matter. According to the petitioners, constitutional courts are empowered to review statutory law to ensure its conformity with constitutional values. Such courts do not need to wait for the legislature to enact or amend laws to recognise same-sex marriage, the petitioners have contended.
The petitioners highlighted that the existing statutory regime governing marriage discriminates against them by exclusion. The bench took note of the submissions by Rohatgi that the review plea needed to be heard in open court to redress the grievances of those seeking validation of same-sex marriages.
The CJI, however, said that he has not examined the case yet and asked the petitioner to complete all the administrative formalities for listing of the case.
According to relevant procedures, the pleas seeking review of judgments are considered by judges of the apex court concerned in chambers with no oral submissions by lawyers. In exceptional cases, however, review pleas including the one relating to the death penalty, are heard in an open court.
In October, a five-judge constitution bench headed by the CJI had delivered four separate verdicts on the batch of 21 petitions seeking legal sanction for gay marriages.
In a unanimous order, the bench refused to give legal sanction to same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act and observed it is within Parliament's ambit to change the law for validating such union.