Hearing on same-sex marriage: SC emphasises on need to finish matter in time-bound manner

Justice Kaul observed nowhere in the world arguments proceed in a manner where there is some kind of an "indefinite time".
A view of the Supreme Court.  (Photo | EPS)
A view of the Supreme Court. (Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments on a batch of pleas seeking legal validation for same-sex marriages, on Wednesday emphasised on the need to finish the matter in a time-bound manner, saying there are other cases waiting to be heard.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, which is hearing the matter for the second consecutive day, observed this when senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for one of the petitioners, said he would take time, probably till lunch on Thursday, to finish his submissions.

Singhvi, whose turn to advance his submissions come at around 12.45 PM, told the bench he is starting his arguments a bit late in the day and will finish sometime before lunch or just at lunchtime on Thursday.

"Your ability is to put it in point-wise form. I think you should finish it much before," said Justice Kaul, who is part of the bench which also comprises Justices S R Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha.

"This is a matter of some moment. I am not repeating. I am giving your lordships the facets which are important," Singhvi said, adding, "Today it might not be possible. I wish I had started earlier."

Justice Kaul observed nowhere in the world arguments proceed in a manner where there is some kind of an "indefinite time".

"I think courts are liberal. Whatever may be. Maybe the most crucial issue, maybe the issue important for the country, but I don't think time frames can spill over," he said.

Singhvi said some matters are evolving and they evolve as one argues and, more importantly, as the court asks questions that are very important to help the matter evolve.

Justice Kaul said he is confident Singhvi will be able to finish his submissions today.

"I am sure there is something which can go from the bench to the bar which is that sometimes you feel merely because we have longer time to decide a matter, it does not mean you will decide it better," the CJI observed.

Justice Kaul said, "I am only saying that all of us, it includes us also as part of it, have to get used to finishing with whatever matter in a time-bound manner because there are other matters waiting to be heard."

Singhvi then commenced his arguments which will continue on Thursday.

During the day's hearing, the petitioners seeking legal validation for same-sex marriage urged the apex court to use its "plenary power, prestige and moral authority" to push the society to acknowledge such a union as would ensure LGBTQIA persons lead a "dignified" life like heterosexuals.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for one of the petitioners, said the State should come forward and provide recognition to same-sex marriage.

Earlier in the day, the Centre urged the apex court that all states and Union Territories be made parties to the proceedings, saying any decision on the issue without obtaining their view will render the present "adversarial exercise" incomplete and truncated.

In a fresh affidavit filed in the apex court, the Centre said it had issued a letter on April 18 to all states inviting comments and views on the "seminal issue" raised in thee petitions.

The hearing and the outcome of the matter will have significant ramifications for the country where common people and political parties hold strong and divergent views on the subject.

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