Centre will invoke ‘state interest’

In the three-page affidavit filed before the Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday the Centre made it clear that it is staying neutral only on the question whether Section 377 IPC is constitutional or not. If the court ventures into ‘far-reaching’ issues like same sex marriage, the Centre would respond with a detailed affidavit showing “legitimate state interest” after “wider consultations in the government.”

Any decision of the court on issues like same sex marriage without giving the government an opportunity to be heard would “not be in the interest of justice and would be violative of principles of natural justice.”

Advocate Menaka Guruswamy made an emotive submission about the battle faced by the community against the draconian law. She talked about decades-long relationships, love and support shared by the petitioners with their partners. “How strongly must you love knowing you are unconvicted felons? My Lords, this is love that must be constitutionally recognised.”

Chief Justice Misra agreed that a “declaration their relationship is constitutional will even remove the ‘ancilliary disqualification’ for people joining services, contesting elections. It will no longer be seen as moral turpitude.”

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed that any law which criminalises such a relationship is an example of social disdain.

My Lords, this is love that must be constitutionally recognised

Menaka Guruswamy

Advocate

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