SC judge Sanjiv Khanna recuses from considering review pleas on same-sex marriage

According to the sources, Justice Khanna has cited personal reasons for his recusal.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaFile Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: The hearing in the same-sex marriage case, which was scheduled for Wednesday, would be delayed further, as one of the judges out of a bench of five, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, recused citing personal reasons. Now the CJI has to constitute a new bench for the case to be heard later.

A five-judge bench, of the top court, led by CJI D Y Chandrachud, was scheduled to hear the review pleas in a chamber on Wednesday at 1:30 pm.

The other four judges in the five-judge bench, of the top court, which was scheduled to hear the number of review pleas, were Justices BV Nagarathna, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha.

In the newly constituted bench of the apex court, Justice Khanna and Nagarathna replaced Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Ravindra Bhat; since they had retired after delivering the verdict on October 17, last year.

Justice Kaul retired on December 25 last year, after serving the apex court for 6 years and 10 months. Similarly, Justice Bhat, who was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court on 23 September 2019, retired on October 20, last year, after fulfilling his duties for three years and 28 days.

In the case on Tuesday, in an unusual request, the batch of petitioners in the same-sex marriage case mentioned their pleas in the Supreme Court pleading it to conduct the hearing in an open court, but the SC said, reviews are decided in chamber hearing and a constitution bench will deal with merits of the pleas.

Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Niraj Kishan Kaul, for some petitioners, pleaded to the Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud led bench, for an open court hearing, which was turned down by him.

The CJI said reviews are decided in the chamber and a constitution bench will deal with the merits of the pleas. "The Review petitions, whether to be heard in open court, is also decided by judges in chamber sans lawyers," the CJI had made it clear to the lawyers.

It is to be noted that the review petitions are being heard in a chamber, where no parties - whether it would be the petitioner, impleaders, respondent, lawyer or litigant - presence would be there.

The Supreme Court had on October 17 last year, in its landmark judgement, declined to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriages.

"It is only for the Parliament and state legislatures to create such institutions and grant them legal validation. The role of legislature has been to act as a codifier of customs and wherever necessary intervene in furtherance of Article 14 and 15(3) to enact laws," the apex court had said in its verdict.

The Supreme Court was also unanimous in its judgement that it was beyond its purview to issue a positive direction and or order to the legislature to accord legal recognition to same-sex marriage

The judges, in their Oct 17 verdict, were also unanimous in giving a go-ahead to a high-powered committee proposed by the Centre to examine the concerns of same-sex couples and moot certain corrective measures.

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