Saturday 10 February 2024

Important highlights of SC Judgment Supriyo @ Supriya Chakraborty & Anr. v. Union of India (2023 INSC 920)

 1. No Fundamental Right To Marry.

The Supreme Court unanimously held that there was not fundamental, unequivocal right to marry in India.

2. On Striking Down The Special Marriage Act & Allied Laws

Another point on which the entire bench agreed was to not strike or read the Special Marriage Act (SMA) and its allied laws down.

3. On Rights Of Transgender Persons To Marry

All five judges unanimously held that transgender persons in heterosexual relationships had the right to marry under existing laws including personal laws which regulate their marriage.In his judgement, CJI DY Chandrachud emphasized the importance of a harmonious interpretation of existing marriage laws and the Transgender Persons Act.He stated that marriage laws in India primarily permit marriages arising from heterosexual relationships, which are described as involving a "man" and a "woman," a "husband" and a "wife," or a "bride and a bridegroom." Restricting such interpretations would contradict the Transgender Persons Act, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against transgender individuals. He also added that intersex persons who identified as either male or female also had the right to marry under existing law including personal laws.

This was concurred with by all the other four judges.

4. On A 'Civil Union'

The recognition of a 'civil union' for queer couples was an issue where several disagreements arose within the bench. While CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice SK Kaul called for a recognition of queer civil unions to ensure that queer couples could get material benefits flowing from a marriage, a different view was taken by the other three judges on the bench.

5. On Adoption Rights Of Queer Couples

Another divergence within the bench arose on the question of whether queer couples had a right to adopt children. In a 3:2 decision, the Supreme Court denied queer couples the right to adopt children. CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice SK Kaul were in the minority, whereas Justice Bhat, Justice Kohli, and Justice Narasimha were in the majority.

6. On Formation & Scope Of Committee

The CJI and Justice Kaul, holding that queer couples had a right to a union recognised by the State, recorded the assurance of the Solicitor General that the Union Government will constitute a Committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for the purpose of defining and elucidating the scope of the entitlements of queer couples who are in unions.

Read detail discussion on this judgment here: Click here.

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