For the first time in India, a court of law will decide whether a same-sex union is valid under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955(HMA).
Justice Rajan Gupta of Punjab and Haryana High Court has sought a response from Haryana on the plea of a same-sex couple seeking protection from their families after having ‘married’.
The two women, who met three years ago and claim to have been “husband and wife” for the past year, petitioned the HC on Tuesday after the Ambala Cantt police rejected their request for protection saying that “recognizing this type of alliance would create anarchy”.
The women, who belong to Ambala and have deserted their husbands to ‘marry’ each other, fear a reprisal from their families, who they say have hired contract killers to eliminate them.
Justice Gupta directed the government to consider the women’s request, observing that the “state is duty bound to protect life and liberty of citizens under Article 21”. The government’s opposed the petition, submitting that “no such marriage between persons belonging to same sex is recognised by the Hindu Marriage Act or any other enactment”.
The government’s law officer, however, conceded that there is “no doubt that Article 21 may entitle the petitioners to seek protection individually as citizens”.
Counsel for petitioners and respondents will now give their arguments on the validity of the ‘marriage’. The court has appointed lawyer Anupam Gupta as amicus curiae in the case.