Two Women Married In Varanasi Challenge Provisions Of The Hindu Marriage Act In Delhi High Court

The court has issued notice in the plea to the Centre and listed the matter for hearing with similar petitions on February 3. 

The court has issued notice in the plea to the Centre and listed the matter for hearing with similar petitions on February 3. 

The Delhi High Court today issued notice on a plea by two women married in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, who have moved court challenging provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act for permitting marriage only between a ‘biological man’ and a ‘biological woman’. 

As per the petitioners the Hindu Marriage Act, “insofar as it does not recognize a same sex Hindu customary marriage” be declared unconstitutional for being in violation of Articles 14 (equality before law), 15 (non-discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, sex, race or place of birth, by law), 19 (freedom of speech) and 21 (protection of life and personal liberty).

As per the filed petition, they request that the Hindu Marriage Act be instead changed to “inclusively and broadly … apply to any two Hindus who wish to marry thereunder, irrespective of their gender,” to make it fair and constitutional.

They are also seeking for the proceedings of the case to be allowed to be live-streamed. The Court has issued notice on this application as well.

Notices on two other similar petitions seeking recognition of one marriage involving a transgender person and the other regarding the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) status for a woman whose same-sex spouse holds an OCI, has been issued by the court.

Legally-sanctioned marriage, and the social protections it affords, continues to be a heterosexual privilege in India despite the reading down of Section 377 of the IPC 3 years ago. Even as several within the community wait for things to change with the support of the judiciary, many other contest the hegemonic institution of monogamy itself. Will queer relationships be recognised by the State? If so, which ones? Time will tell.

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