Marriage Equality: 'Adoption Is the Norm in Many Situations,' Says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court resumed hearing the petitions seeking marriage equality on Wednesday, 10 May.

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"There are situations where adoptions take place, and thereafter, there is biological children. There are many situations where adoption is the norm."
Justice S Ravindra Bhat

The five-judge Supreme Court bench on Wednesday, 10 May, while hearing petitions seeking legal recognition for same-sex marriages in the country, said that adoption is the norm in many situations, and not the exception.

Aishwarya Bhati, the Additional Solicitor General of India, was arguing that a child requires both a mother and father, and besides, the right to adopt under the current law is only for heterosexual couples.

"Fathers and mothers both play complimentary roles in upbringing of child. State is justified in treating homosexual and heterosexual unions differently for that purpose."
ASG Aishwarya Bhati

Who Can Adopt, Who Cannot?

The ASG argued that a child born biologically to a heterosexual couple "is the ideal mode," and that adoption is for those who do not have that option.

However, CJI DY Chandrachud responded to her arguments, saying, "Law does recognise that you can adopt for a variety of reasons. You can adopt even if you're capable of biological birth. There's no compulsion of having biological birth."

The CJI then went on to ask if the ASG was implying whether only married heterosexual couples can adopt children, to which the latter replied in the affirmative.

"My question is, if people are in a live in relationship, is the right of an individual to adopt taken away by virtue of the fact that they're in a live-in relationship?"
CJI DY Chandrachud

The ASG went on to add: "If your lordships read 'spouse' it is going to impact children's laws the most."


Govt Agrees To Set Up 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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