HC notice to Centre on same-sex marriage plea
The Delhi High Court (HC) on Thursday issued notice to the Union government on a petition seeking a direction to recognise same-sex unions under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and the Special Marriage Act (SMA).
The court asked the Centre to submit its response within four weeks and listed the case for hearing along with two other pleas seeking similar relief.
Hindu Marriage Act
- The Hindu Marriage Act is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1955. Three other important acts were also enacted as part of the Hindu Code Bills during this time: the Hindu Succession Act (1956), the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956), the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956).
- The main purpose of the act was to amend and codify the law relating to marriage among Hindus and others.
- Besides amending and codifying Sastrik Law, it introduced separation and divorce, which did not exist in Sastrik Law.
- This enactment brought uniformity of law for all sections of Hindus.
- In India there are religion-specific civil codes that separately govern adherents of certain other religions.
Special Marriage Act
- The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to provide a special form of marriage for the people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of the religion or faith followed by either party.
- The Act originated from a piece of legislation proposed during the late 19th century. Marriages solemnized under Special Marriage Act are not governed by personal laws.
- In 1872 Act III, 1872 was enacted but later it was found inadequate for certain desired reforms, and Parliament enacted a new legislation.
- Henry Sumner Maine first introduced Act III of 1872, which would permit any dissenters to marry whomever they chose under a new civil marriage law.
- In the final wording, the law sought to legitimize marriages for those willing to renounce their profession of faith altogether ("I do not profess the Hindu, Christian, Jewish, etc. religion").
- It can apply in inter-caste and inter-religion marriages.
- Overall, the response from local governments and administrators was that they were unanimously opposed to Maine's Bill and believed the legislation encouraged marriages based on lust, which would inevitably lead to immorality.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 replaced the old Act III, 1872. The new enactment has 3 major objectives:
- To provide a special form of marriage in certain cases,
- To provide for registration of certain marriages and,
- To provide for divorce.