'Constitution Is a Tradition Breaker': SC During Marriage Equality Hearing

“The moment you bring tradition, the constitution itself is a tradition breaker," Justice S Ravindra Bhat said.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 9 May, said that the Indian Constitution is a "tradition breaker," resuming the hearing of petitions seeking legal recognition for same-sex marriages in the country.

Senior lawyer Rakesh Dwivedi questioned where the right for persons in same-sex relationships to marry could be a fundamental right, adding that the matter should be addressed by the Parliament.

“So, you concede the fact that there is a right to marry under the constitution but that is confined to heterosexuals?" Chief Justice DY Chandrachud asked.

“The moment you bring tradition, the constitution itself is a tradition breaker. Because the first time you brought in 14, you brought in 15, and 17, those traditions are broken," Justice S Ravindra Bhat said, pointing that inter-caste marriage was not legal 50 years ago.

On Use Of the Word 'Spouse'

Earlier, Dwivedi, appearing as an intervener, contended that using the term 'spouse' instead of 'husband and wife' may affect the dignity of heterosexual people.

"I want your lordships to look at Section 4 [of the Special Marriage Act]. Spouse is a flexible word grammatically. But in the context of the Act, spouse means husband or wife. The context of this Act is heterosexual, everyone agrees to that," he had said.

Govt Agreeable to Setup a Panel

The Centre on 3 May agreed to set up a panel headed by the Cabinet Secretary to explore administrative steps for addressing 'concerns' of same-sex couples, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said before the Supreme Court.

"The government is positive. What we have decided is that this would need coordination between more than one ministry. So, a committee headed by no less than the Cabinet Secretary will be constituted," Mehta had told the apex court.

"My friends can give me suggestions or problems they're facing which the committee will go into and will try and see that so far as legally permissible, they are addressed," the Solicitor General added.

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